The Gospel: John 20:19-31
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, 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 his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), 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 it.”
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.”
30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
The Proof Is in the Peace
Before you make an important decision, usually you like to get all the facts. You list the pros and cons, you examine all the evidence. Sometimes when a decision is really big, you might feel like a CSI agent with all the facts and evidence that you weigh before you make your big choice. It’s hard enough to make a decision when you have all the facts. But it’s really hard when someone just asks you to make a decision based on trust – without any proof.
No doubt that’s how Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples felt, when everyone was trying to convince him that Jesus had risen from death – without any proof but their words. It just so happened that when everybody was together except for Thomas – that’s when Jesus came and appeared to the rest of the disciples. You’ve probably been in the situation that Thomas was in. All of you friends get together maybe at your expense, maybe at someone else’s and they go to extreme lengths to try to pull something over on you, to try to see how gullible you are, how easily tricked. But Thomas wasn’t going to be tricked.
But I’m sure something was still nagging at Thomas. How could they joke about something like this? How could they talk about their dearest friend in this way if it wasn’t true? But no. It was just too much to believe. Unless I know that it’s really Jesus. You probably didn’t check as closely as I would. Your minds were playing tricks you too. I would need to see the nail marks in his hands and his feet. I would need to put my hand in his side that was pierced with the spear. That’s the only way that I would believe. I just need proof.
And he probably thought. Why shouldn’t I have the proof? Why should I be the only one that hasn’t seen Jesus face to face? But Jesus was going to give Thomas more than just proof that he was alive. He was going to give him peace too.
Jesus appeared right in the midst of the disciples with a wonderful greeting – “Peace be with you.” The peace that Jesus came to this world to accomplish was the forgiveness of sins. With his perfect life and his death on the cross Jesus won peace for Thomas, his disciples, and for you too.
And God wants you to have that peace. He wants you to feel that peace at all times of your life because God is in control of all things for you. But the peace you have isn’t even dependent on your feelings of peace. That peace already exists. It’s the peace of the first Easter and the empty tomb. And it’s the peace of heaven that is yours as well because of the peace that Jesus gives you.
Pastor Nick Schmoller