Saturday 21 February, 2015

John 20:19-31

19 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!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” 24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 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.” 26 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!” 27 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.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” 30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Jesus says “Blessed are those who believe without seeing”. He’s talking about me. And I am blessed.

I’m blessed that John chose these things so carefully and wrote them in his book to help me believe.

I’m blessed that even the sceptic of the group, Thomas, saw and believed. This wasn’t the disciples believing what they wanted to be true. Thomas saw and touched the evidence. His doubt makes it easier for me to believe.

I’m blessed that Jesus didn’t say “Too bad Thomas isn’t here. He misses out”. Instead he comes to them again, especially for Thomas. He doesn’t chastise Thomas for his lack of faith. He meets Thomas where he is. He makes it easy for him to believe.

Sometimes I fall into thinking if I’m not in the right place at the right time, if I don’t have enough faith, if I don’t think of the right words, then I’ll miss out. But Jesus came looking for me. He meets me where I am too, and he makes it easy for me to believe.

I’m blessed by Jesus gentleness to the other disciples.

They are hiding behind locked doors though they already know he is alive. But he doesn’t say “you faithless disciples”. Instead he addresses their fears: he gives them his peace. More than just a greeting – this is profound, cosmically significant, bought with his life peace with the God of creation. And then he gives it again. And he gives it to me too, especially when I am fearful.

He gives the Holy Spirit to them and sends them out. Though the door stays locked he doesn’t criticise them. He lets them wait until the Spirit shows himself with power at Pentecost before they actually go out. I’m blessed that he shows the same gentleness with me. I’m blessed that they did go out and tell about Jesus. I’m blessed by that enormous network of faithful people passing the good news on, until finally it comes to me. I’m blessed that he gives me the Holy Spirit too.

I’m so blessed!

Written by David Cornell

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