Sunday 19 April 2020

Bible Book:

Jesus said to him, 'Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.' (v. 29)

John 20:19-31 Sunday 19 April 2020

Psalm: Psalm 16


John is the only Gospel writer to include the Easter story of doubting Thomas. Thomas is not with the other disciples when the risen Lord appears. He refuses to believe their testimony unless he can see and touch for himself the wounds on Jesus’ crucified body. Interestingly, Jesus shows the other disciples his hands and side too (verse 20) and it is only then that they rejoice. The implication is that they also needed to see these wounds before they could believe. 

This is one of only two resurrection accounts that take place in the evening. The other is the appearance of Jesus to Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-25). Some churches have sunrise services to remember the discovery of the empty tomb early in the morning. If you are not an early riser, take heart that Easter can also be celebrated in the evening!

Jesus' greeting to the disciples, repeated three times in this passage, is "Peace be with you" (vs.  19, 21, 26). The gift of peace to troubled, fearful hearts has been offered by Jesus earlier in John’s Gospel too, in a passage often read at funerals (John 14:27).  "Peace be with you" has become a liturgical greeting for us, but Jesus was simply saying “Hello”. Muslims greet one another with the same words today. "Salaam alaikum" means "peace be upon you".

Thomas’ acknowledgement of Jesus as "My Lord and my God" (v. 28) is a clear declaration of faith and understanding and some scholars believe that this was originally intended to be the climax of John’s Gospel. Verses 30-31 certainly read like a concluding statement of purpose and verse 29 is a closing blessing from Jesus to future readers like you and me:  "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."


To Ponder:

  • Why was Thomas not with the other disciples when Jesus appeared? Where do you think he had gone?
  • Try saying "Peace be with you" instead of "Hello" when you call or message people this week and see what response you get.
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