We can be sure of our God
by Andy Cokayne 21 April 2020
Read John 20:19 - 29
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’
Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’
One of the passages Peter shared on Sunday, I also heard at another service, and thought it was worth considering this familiar passage again.
Thomas,called Didymus, which means twin, appears to be a glass half empty sort of guy. When Jesus said that he was going to Jerusalem to die, Thomas jumped in with the statement “Oh we’ll come and die with you”, a strange kind of response.
You can imagine Thomas’s frustration when the disciples tell him that they have seen Jesus alive and talking to them. We take that event as just another part of the Easter story, but to the disciples it was earth shattering. They were in ‘Lockdown’ themselves, and in fear, but not from a Virus, but from the combined authorities of Rome and Jerusalem.
Having seen their master arrested and executed, they were in fear that they were next. Then in the middle of their gathering, there stands Jesus. You can imagine, there jaws drop open in amazement, anything they held would have dropped to the floor. Could they believe there eyes? Was it really him? Were they having a dream? Then they saw his wounds and knew it was him.
Now Thomas, whom Jesus clearly didn’t want to feel left out, has the experience for himself. Thomas got the message, and was the first to exclaim, “you really are God!” Jesus came to show them proof, when he showed them his hands and side; to bring them peace, when he said “Peace be with you”; to give them a purpose, when he told them to bring forgiveness, and to give them power when he said “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Perhaps as we have time to ponder over these coming days, we should seek our Father and ask for what we need from him, in faith.
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May the God who raised Jesus from the dead grant you peace, purpose, and his presence this Easter tide.
In Jesus name we pray.