Posted by on Apr 19, 2020 in Pastor's Blog | Comments Off on See to Believe?

Grace and peace to you today! Let us pray…Dear Lord…thank you so much for the gift of
salvation you gave us when you rose on Easter morning…and in 40 days ascended to your
Heavenly Father. Thank you for the gift of life and promise that you would always be with us,
guiding, teaching and protecting us. Amen

Our gospel lesson for the 2nd Sunday of Easter is from John 20:19-31. The word of God for the
people of God. Thanks be to God.

The reading for today from the Gospel of John begins the day after Jesus rose from the dead and
when Mary Magdalene and the other disciples found that the tomb was empty. Mary, Peter and
John (the disciple that Jesus loved) had come back to this room to tell the disciples that Jesus was
not in the tomb and that He had appeared to them.

The disciples are still locked in this room, because they are fearful for their life at the hands of
the Jews…as they were known as Jesus’ followers. These followers had been in this room since
before Jesus was nailed to the cross as they had all left the crowds and escaped to safety. The
only one who had viewed the crucifixion was John who was the disciple that Jesus spoke to
personally to ask him to care for Mary.

While these disciples are cowering in the room, suddenly, Jesus enters the room. The door isn’t
opened. Jesus walks in speaking “Peace be with you.” Can you imagine how thankful and joyful you would feel to hear those words from Jesus after the horror that they had heard about?
Not only that, but they saw the wounds in Jesus hands, feet and side. Were they expecting this?
I truly believe they were surprised and awe struck. Why, do you ask? Because even though they
had heard about the Messiah coming and rising from the dead when the prophets’ and Psalms
were read in the temples, it was hard to realize this type of miracle could really happen. I believe
they were skeptical of what had been written in the Old Testament.

Then, Jesus said to them, “As my Father sent me, so send I you.” He was commissioning them
to be disciples to the whole world. He breathed on them…authorizing them to forgive sins of the
people they were teaching.

One disciple was not in attendance at this time. That was Thomas. Many have called him
“Doubting Thomas”…but I prefer to say that Thomas was skeptical of what the disciples told
him. This man, Thomas, had been with Jesus and the other disciples when they heard that
Lazarus had died. He told his fellow disciples that they should accompany Jesus, no matter what
the danger. (John 11:16) Tradition states that Thomas brought the gospel message to the east
after Jesus’ ascension into heaven.

But…for right now, let’s consider what Thomas said to his fellow disciples. He said he wouldn’t
believe unless he actually saw the wounds of Jesus. He wasn’t totally different in his outlook
from the disciples who didn’t believe Mary, Peter and John when they told their fellow disciples
that Jesus had appeared to them and he wasn’t in the tomb. They, too, were skeptical. The

skepticism was eliminated when Jesus appeared to them.

Now…one week later, Thomas is again with his fellow disciples. This time, Jesus comes to
them. He greeted them with “Peace be with you” and offered to have Thomas touch the wounds
on His hands and feet. Thomas did not need to touch Jesus….he immediately declared, “My
Lord and my God”.

Jesus asks the question we all wonder about. “Do you believe because you have seen?” This
brings up the question to me. How have we all made the decision to believe that Jesus is our
Lord and our God? Thomas was singled out because he actually stated his doubt. He didn’t hide
it. Jesus didn’t scold him, did he? He had compassion for Thomas.

What have you experienced in your lives that moved you to believe in Jesus, in the Father, and t
the Holy Spirit? What did you once doubt that an experience, a message in church, a verse in
the Bible, an act of kindness shown to you, to someone else?

It’s not that hard to understand that even though the disciples had followed Jesus for 3 years and
had heard His words as well as the statements that He must suffer and go to his Father, they
didn’t really understand the full meaning of the latter statement. It’s not easy for us to
completely understand that, either.

The whole concept that Jesus had been telling them flew in the face of reason and understanding.
It wasn’t in their tradition. How could they really believe that the Messiah would rise from the
dead? This just didn’t happen. And, to top it off, Jesus died like every other person had died.

Jesus encourages us, when He appears to Thomas, because He is willing to have us bring our
skepticism and questions to Him, directly. He understood that it would be even more difficult
for subsequent followers to believe when they couldn’t actually see the wounds or would have
not experienced in person the miracles that Jesus performed.

Jesus understands our struggles and battles with doubt. He knows us…each and every one of
us. What experience brought you to your belief in Jesus? Was it a single occurrence? Was it a
realization and “light” that shown through your reading of a specific verse or story in the Bible?
We have all had that certain revelation that assured us that Jesus does live with his Father and is
in our lives. We have had a revelation that convinces us that Jesus knows us and is always with
us and protecting and teaching us. We have not seen Jesus in the person of Jesus…but we have
seen Him in the deeds and words of other people. We have seen Jesus in other people as we live
and work with those God has created. We have not seen….but we DO believe that Jesus is

“Our Lord and Our God.”

Dear Lord…thank you for coming to us. Thank you for the love you showed for us when you
suffered and died for the forgiveness of our sins. May we always be your representative in your
world…so that even though people cannot see you, in person, that they see you in our actions,
words and deeds. Amen.


April 2020


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