Sunday 03 April 2016

Bible Book:

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.’” (v. 21)

John 20:19-31 Sunday 3 April 2016

Psalm: Psalm 118


Every time I read verse 21 I'm stunned.

Try to put yourself in the place of Jesus. He had been broughtto trial and crucified. This same Jesus then meets the disciples ina closed upper room.

At a human level I could imagine Jesus reflecting back on thosehe was going to meet. Philip, who I've always thought of ascounting the cost as if the money was his own - remember him at thefeeding of the 5,000 asking how they could afford to feed all thosepeople (John 6:5-7). Then there was James and John,vying for position (Mark 10:35-45), and Simon, a zealot (Luke6:15) - a terrorist in today's terms and disheartened with theoutcome. And then there is Peter, landing himself in it with thatdenial in the courtyard when Jesus had been arrested (John18:15-18). And Jesus is coming to meet them.

If it was me I'd be taking count of the times those men had letme down, sleeping when I needed them most, denying me and walkingaway. My opening words would be, 'I've a bone to pick with you…'But Jesus is disarming in his grace, "Peace be with you". And herepeats those words.

But that was a week ago and now they meet again and Thomas,'Questioning Thomas' as a friend of mine put it, who had not beenpresent, is there. History has labelled him the doubter. It couldreally test your patience. Yet Jesus greets Thomas as he greetedthe others, "Peace be with you" (v. 26). And he doesn't stop there.We know how the rest of the story unfolds. Jesus understands andoffers just what is needed to nurture the struggling seed ofThomas' faith.

What strikes me equally is Jesus' gracious acceptance, notreminding these men of their failures (surely they felt guiltyanyway?), and the way each was met as an individual with personalneeds. Those two facets of Jesus' humanity shine through theGospel. And hopefully, at least a reflection of his character mightbe found in each of us.

To Ponder

  • In what ways can you be gracious to those who may have let youdown?
  • How do your attitudes and words indicate that you treat andvalue others as individuals?

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