Reflection on the Gospel of John 20:19-31; Second Sunday of Easter, April 16, 2023

The Gospel of John 20:19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 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.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Let us Pray: Today let our faith guide us and not let the doubts creep in. Guide us to follow in the way of your risen Son. To care for others not with just words but with acts of love, seeking to be more like your son Jesus. We offer you our prayers in the Name of Jesus our Savior. Amen.

One thing we cannot forget is that Easter, like Christmas, is not over after the day of Christmas or Easter. They are celebrations that go on according to the church calendar, 12 days for Christmas and 50 days for Easter. But just because that is what the calendars say do we or should we stop our celebrations at a prescribed time. Every Sunday is a celebration of Easter Resurrection, and everyday should be a celebration of Christmas.

Our Faith is what gives us HOPE. This Sunday is also known as Doubting Thomas Sunday or can be Faith Sunday. Thomas was not there when Jesus first showed Himself to His disciples.  “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”  So, we know all the disciples had reservations, it wasn’t only Thomas, so how are we supposed to fully believe and understand when we didn’t have the privilege to be with Jesus. The belief comes from our faith, our faith that we can believe in God, and His Son Jesus and we can find our way through scripture.                                                                             As we read the Gospel for this week, we can share those disciples’ feelings. They felt isolated from others because they were afraid, afraid if they went out what the consequences would be. I am sure that all of us have had that feeling, we just got past a pandemic where we were afraid of the consequences of going out. How do we face that fear and concern?  Is it fear that makes us hide as the disciples did, or is it a lack of understanding, or are we hiding so we don’t have to see and face the pain of others. Because of Thomas, we have these inspiring words of Jesus: “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29, NKJV). Thomas’ lack of faith has served to encourage all future Christians who have not seen Jesus and yet have believed in him and his resurrection Thomas can teach us a lot about the importance of faith and the gracious and compassionate love Jesus has for us all. We can always go to Him with our doubts, our anger, our worries. And we can rest assured that He will handle it all. When we have doubts today, we can ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with the Truth, and it will be done. We can accept that what John and the other Gospel writers recorded is a gift for us so we can understand what happened then which gives us hope for today and tomorrow and the years to come.                                                                     Today, millions of people stubbornly want to witness miracles or see Jesus in person before they will believe in him, but God asks us to come to him in faith. God provides the Bible, with eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life, crucifixion, and resurrection to strengthen our faith.  In response to Thomas’ doubts, Jesus said that those who believe in Christ as Savior without seeing him—that’s us—are blessed.

Let us Pray: Holy God,   You have called us to follow in the way of your risen Son, and to care for those who are our companions, not only with words of comfort, but with acts of love. Seeking to be true friends of all, we offer our prayers on behalf of the church and the world, And in the name of your Son Jesus Christ.  AMEN

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