April 23, 2017: Second Sunday of Easter
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Now, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name. (John 20″19-31)
Imagine being in that room when Jesus comes through closed doors. The apostles were afraid, that’s why they locked the doors. Some probably jumped, some backed away to hide, some grabbed for a weapon. No wonder that Jesus’ first words are, “Peace be with you.”
Who do you think came first to look at his hands and feet? What did they feel as they looked at him closely? He is expressing forgiveness to these men who were not with him in his passion. There must’ve been confusion when he spoke of the Holy Spirit and sins being forgiven and sending them. Their minds struggled to take in the idea that Jesus whom they knew had died and been buried was alive and with them. They had plenty to talk about with Thomas and with each other in the week between these two segments of the story. When they are together again behind locked doors, Jesus again surprises them and again calms their fear with, “Peace be with you.” Jesus gives his full attention to Thomas.
Be Thomas as you put your hand into Jesus’ side and finger in his hand. Look Jesus in the eye, let the cry of faith come from your depths, and pray, “My Lord and my God!”
During the week ahead if something you hear on the news or anticipating a difficult interaction with a coworker makes you afraid, or a child’s behavior irritates you, pause, take a deep breathe, look again into Jesus’ eyes and hear his words of peace directed to you.
Rejoice in Jesus’ words: “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
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