Loving Father, I come before you in weakness and smallness, so that I might be open to your might and glory.
Read JOHN 20:19–31
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
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.”
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), 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.”
The Purpose of John’s Gospel
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[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Thank God that the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is now at work within you. Ask for fresh breath today.1
We’ve seen already that there was real fear of the religious authorities among many in Jerusalem.2 All of this means that locking the doors was entirely understandable. It forms the backdrop to another illustration of the resurrection theme of continuity and discontinuity. Jesus can come and appear in their midst, in spite of the locked doors, yet is able also to display his healed wounds and proclaim peace to them. I think consternation gives way to awed belief and finally joy as the disciples see that the wounds that helped kill him are still there – but healed.
This is not just a social call. Rather, it is a commissioning. Jesus sends them in God’s peace: repeated, I think, to emphasize that they’re sent in that peace. They are also sent in the power of the Spirit, dramatically breathed over them (another proof, of course, that his renewed life is real, since ghosts don’t have breath).
The commissioning is to continue his mission: Jesus sends them as the Father sent him; and Jesus sends them in the same mission. We could read verse 21: ‘As the Father sent me to proclaim the kingdom in word and deed, I am sending you to proclaim the kingdom in word and deed.’ The discontinuity is that Jesus is doing the sending, but the continuity is that they are not sent on a new mission but to carry on that of Jesus himself. Whatever else that mission might be about, Jesus makes it clear that it is a ministry bringing the power of the cross to confront sin, with the hope that people will receive the forgiveness that he came to win (v 23). Yes, Jesus is alive, but everything has changed: the mission of the church begins here.
The sending of the church began on that first Easter Day. What part is Jesus calling you to play in that sending? Ask for God’s power as you go.
Lord of my life, wherever you have placed me I want to be a signpost that points others to you. Help me, I pray, to gladly share the good news of the gospel.
1 Rom 8:11 2 Cf John 7:12,13; 9:20–23; 12:42,43
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