1 May 2011

John 20:19-31

"My Lord and my God" (v. 28)


This passage begins on the evening of the day of resurrection. This is the third incident recorded by the Gospel-writer John on that day. The first saw Peter and the beloved disciple finding the tomb empty and tells us that Peter "saw and believed" (John 20:8) and in the second the weeping Mary Magdalene encountered the risen Lord (John 20:11-18).

Now the disciples are in a room, we must suppose in Jerusalem, with the doors locked (v. 19). Suddenly the risen Jesus appears and grant those present "peace" (shalom). Leslie Newbigin says that this peace is because Jesus "bears the wounds of his decisive battle with evil" (see also Colossians 1:20).

But at this appearance Thomas was missing. A week later the one, who required visible and tangible proof that Jesus who was crucified is alive, has his own meeting with his risen master. Traditionally, 'Doubting Thomas' is a term used to describe someone who will refuse to believe something without direct, physical, personal evidence; a sceptic. Seeing Jesus alive and being offered the opportunity to touch his wounds, Thomas then professed his faith in Jesus - although the Bible does not mention if actual contact took place. His cry "My Lord and my God!" is for me the most powerful resurrection statement - he would never be the same as a result of what had happened to him.

These wounds show us how our God does not dodge the pain in the world and can identify with those suffering, even in his risen glory.

To Ponder

Who are the people who live behind doors locked through fear today?

Do the wounds of Jesus draw you closer to the risen Jesus? Why?

Bible notes author

The Revd Steve Wild

Born in Rochdale, Steve Wild is a proud Lancastrian, but is at home in his adopted Cornwall where he is chair of district. Steve has been a Methodist minister since 1983 and has served in Cornwall, Preston and Cliff College (as tutor, connexional director of evangelism and acting principal).