It’s the Sunday of the resurrection. Early that morning John and Peter visited what would be an empty tomb. Mary has wept and then seen Jesus. She has told everything to the disciples.
The disciples have gathered, behind locked doors because they are afraid of the Jews. It stands to reason they would be suspected of taking Jesus’ body. Moreover the tomb guards have been bribed to lie. The Jews have gotten just what they wanted so far… no joke – there is reason to be afraid.
Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” This is where Jesus comes in – right into the midst of our fears – and offers His peace. (Boy, this has to be a sermon preached a million times. I mean it’s so obvious. I guess the question is not do we know about this offer but whether we have ever taken Him up on it. It’s a on again, off again, thing with me.)
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. No doubt His entrance was shocking and they were more than apprehensive about these latest events. They have heard some stories but… So Jesus offers them some tangible proof. How could there be these wounds if it wasn’t really Him? Then they were glad. 🙂 (You know “glad” like a little smiley face. Not! That’s a ridiculous understatement of the ESV…filled with joy, overjoyed, rejoicing – HE’s Back! That would be more like it.)
Back and in charge and handing out assignments –
First, you’ll need weapons:
1. My peace – you can’t rely on the world for stability or comfort
2. My direction – you might get disoriented so remember who sent you – rely on My directions as your compass
3. My Spirit – you can’t do this work in your own power
The assignment: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” Whoa! Isn’t God the only one who can forgive sins? He has been telling them all along that He would be sending them out to carry the same message the Father has given Him. That message is the good news that Jesus is the way to have ones sins forgiven. “Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” Acts 10:43-44. Conversely, to not believe is to be left in your sins. So, here is their mission – to affirm to all who will hear – Jesus is the way of forgiveness. There is no other.
Thomas is not inclined to believe that Jesus has been there just because the rest tell him “we have seen the Lord” and seen His wounds. Thomas wants to see it all for himself. (This reminds me we each have to come to Jesus in our own way. Great witnesses, sermons, life stories, sad movies, other people’s miracles – for as good as they might be – don’t measure up when one is looking to personally encounter Jesus. In fact, they shouldn’t. In fact again, this goes back to the three weapons. The first two are for the comfort and direction of the witness. The third is the One who draws the hearer to Himself – in His time and in His way.)
Eight days go by…waiting…waiting….waiting. (This is a standard God tactic.) Was the delay for Thomas’ benefit?
Again Jesus enters even when the doors are locked. (Ha! I love that. Jesus knows His own – even the doubters, the stragglers, and the fearful – and He is faithful to show up – in fact, you can’t keep Him out.) Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. This is the reason John has written anything.
Why? So that you may believe
What? That Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
To What End? That by believing you may have life in his name.
That’s the bottom line. John – it’s a whole book about believing.
He’s got your number.
Accept Jesus’ peace and the fear of the world disappears.
About the World?
Do not disbelieve, but believe.