Sunday 07 April 2013

Bible Book:

John 20:19-31 Sunday 7 April 2013


It's the Sunday evening following Friday's crucifixion of Jesus.Mary Magdalene has told the disciples that she has seen Jesus,risen from the dead. She's brought a message from him to them abouthis going to heaven. A couple of them have been to the tomb andseen that it was empty (John20:1-18). And now the disciples are hidden away in a lockedroom 'for fear of the Jews'.

It's not surprising that they were locked and hidden away. Thefickle crowd of 'Jews' that had welcomed Jesus only a week earlier(John 12:12-19) had, by the end of the week,called for his death. Judas had not been seen since Friday morning(Matthew 27:1-5). Would they be next? And whatwere they to make of Mary's story of meeting angels and a gardenerwho knew her name?

John's Gospel doesn't explain how Jesus came to walk through alocked door (though see 1Corinthians 15:35-57 for Paul's explanation). The miracle ofJesus passing through a locked door to bring peace and joy, andforgiveness through the Holy Spirit, can only be understood bythose who see Jesus passing through the locked door of death itselfto also bring peace and joy, and forgiveness through the HolySpirit. The 'breath' of Jesus brings the 'Spirit' of God (it's thesame word in Greek).

Note that 'doubting Thomas' should be called 'believing Thomas'- he's the first person to call Jesus "my Lord and my God". Notealso that this passage is probably the original ending (and what agreat ending it is!) to John's Gospel, before the epilogue which ischapter 21.

To Ponder

  • Most of us have things in our life that we'd rather not face,and want to lock ourselves safely away from. How may the gift ofthe Holy Spirit help you to leave your locked room?
  • Think about the reasons people give for not believing in God,and the proofs they ask for. Does faith, by its very nature, notrequire proof? Why?
  • John ends his book (verse 31) by telling you why he has writtenit. All that work was for you, dear reader - how far was it worthhis effort or is the book an unused Christmas gift?
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