Tag Archives: John 20:19-31

Waiting and Wondering

This passage is a story of after the event.

You know when there has been a massive build up to something – meticulous planning, great hopes, high expectation – and even when it has gone well, there is an anti-climax feeling afterwards.  What now?  That had been the focus of your life for so long.  Now what do you do?

Imagine how it must have felt for the disciples.  Things had entirely not gone to plan – and yet, somehow it was all ok – but what was happening, what now?

John 20:19-31

The Message

To Believe

19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.

20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”

22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”

But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

30-31 Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

They locked themselves away, worried and afraid.  And Jesus came to them.  He allowed them to touch his wounds, his pain, to do what they needed to – to be sure that he was real, that it had all happened.

What a relief it must have been, to realise that they hadn’t imagined it.  Jesus, the Jesus they knew and head learned so much from, was alive.  This is no imposter, it was no fake death – he is here, with them, bringing them faith, hope and forgiveness.

God comes to us – where we are, meets us and allows us to touch him.

Where are you today?

In a place of joy at the Risen Lord?  Or more in a place of despair, disillusionment, in a place of anti-climax, feeling abandoned and bereft?

Whichever it is, the risen Jesus comes into that place and speaks his peace.  God is here, with you.

Peace to you

And as he gives us his peace, he sends us to take his peace where we go – and the forgiveness of sins.

We are now God’s disciples here on earth, filled with his peace – and called to do his work.

Lord,
help me to believe,
in you, where you are,
what you can do.

When life is good and happy,
when it is dark
and painful
may I know your presence
and your peace.

And knowing your peace,
and receiving your forgiveness,
may I share it with others
who need it too.

Over to You

Sometimes, you just don’t know whether to believe something.  Something you see on TV, that you wonder if it is just a trick of the cameras; something that causes you to make a double take; or a rumour that you are sure can’t really be true…

Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 The disciples were afraid of the Jewish leaders, and on the evening of that same Sunday they locked themselves in a room. Suddenly, Jesus appeared in the middle of the group. He greeted them 20 and showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they became very happy.

21 After Jesus had greeted them again, he said, “I am sending you, just as the Father has sent me.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they will be forgiven. But if you don’t forgive their sins, they will not be forgiven.”

Jesus and Thomas

24 Although Thomas the Twin was one of the twelve disciples, he wasn’t with the others when Jesus appeared to them. 25 So they told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But Thomas said, “First, I must see the nail scars in his hands and touch them with my finger. I must put my hand where the spear went into his side. I won’t believe unless I do this!”

26 A week later the disciples were together again. This time, Thomas was with them. Jesus came in while the doors were still locked and stood in the middle of the group. He greeted his disciples 27 and said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands! Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and have faith!”

28 Thomas replied, “You are my Lord and my God!”

29 Jesus said, “Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!”

Why John Wrote His Book

30 Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life.

Well, by now we didn’t know what to believe.

We had all seen Jesus die, seen him breathe his last, seen the evidence.  Everyone had been there, it was real ok.

But then, but then Mary had come with this tale that the tomb was empty, but more than that – that Jesus had been raised.  Then he’d appeared to the two as they were walking  in the countryside, wondering what was happening.

Now we were afraid.  Afraid because we didn’t understand what was happening, and afraid because now the Jewish authorities would be after us.  They’d assume we’d pulled some trick or other to back up the stories of Jesus.  But we hadn’t, we were as confused as the next man and woman.

So here we were, shut away.

And then here he was, right in the middle of us, among us again.

Peace be with you

that was what he said to us.  Bringing his calming peace into our place of questioning and fear.

He showed us his hands and side.  There was no question it was him.  Thomas missed all this.  He wasn’t going to believe it he said.  Not unless he saw it with his own eyes.  But Jesus accepted that, and a week later he appeared again, allowing Thomas to touch, to see – and believe and understand.

He repeated his message of peace, and then added to it,

As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you – wow!

Seeing, believing, receiving – and then going with it.

God’s new thing was here – and now it was up to us, to me, to pass it on.

Thank you Lord

you are with me in the times I have locked myself away,

in my questions,

in my doubts,

in my fear,

in my grief.

Thank you

that you bring your word of peace,

allow me to touch you

– as you touch my life anew.

Help me to share what I have discovered in you,

that others may discover the new thing you are doing

and become a part of it.

~~~~~

I have really enjoyed this book, and found it very helpful.  Thanks to Tom Wright!

This year, I am again following the BigRead using Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone – Mark.  I’ll reflect here – if you’re following it too, or even if you’re not, please share with me.

It’s for everyone

Yesterday was the Queen’s Official Birthday, marked in part by Trooping the Colour.

Today, is the Churches Official Birthday – Pentecost – The Coming of the Holy Spirit:

Acts 2:1-11

Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

1On the day of Pentecost all the Lord’s followers were together in one place. 2Suddenly there was a noise from heaven like the sound of a mighty wind! It filled the house where they were meeting. 3Then they saw what looked like fiery tongues moving in all directions, and a tongue came and settled on each person there. 4The Holy Spirit took control of everyone, and they began speaking whatever languages the Spirit let them speak. 5Many religious Jews from every country in the world were living in Jerusalem. 6And when they heard this noise, a crowd gathered. But they were surprised, because they were hearing everything in their own languages. 7They were excited and amazed, and said:

   Don’t all these who are speaking come from Galilee? 8Then why do we hear them speaking our very own languages? 9Some of us are from Parthia, Media, and Elam. Others are from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, 10Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, parts of Libya near Cyrene, Rome, 11Crete, and Arabia. Some of us were born Jews, and others of us have chosen to be Jews. Yet we all hear them using our own languages to tell the wonderful things God has done.

The Spirit is here.  Jesus had promised it, and now it is here – the church now has the power to do what Jesus asked it to do.  They are not working in their own power, but his.

But for me, the most amazing thing about the coming of the Spirit, is that it makes God’s word available to everyone.

There were people from all over the world in Jerusalem at the time, from all kinds of backgrounds, speaking many different languages – and yet they all understood what the disciples had to say about God.

No one was too obscure, too far away, too different – God’s word that day was for them.  And they didn’t just hear it, they understood it too.

Today God’s word is for you.  Whoever you are, wherever you come from, whatever your situation today – God comes to you.  He is relevant to your life, and he has something to say. Listen to what he has to say to you