Jesus gave Mary Magdalene instructions to tell his disciples what she had seen. I’m sure she wasted no time. But, while Jesus appeared to her very early in the morning, he didn’t appear to his disciples until that evening. The text says that they were together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews.
There were likely other people with them besides the original group. If Mary told them what she had seen, who else had she told? They may have been afraid about word spreading that Jesus’ body had been removed. Would the Jews now try to hunt them down? They were his closest followers.
As they stayed together in fear, Jesus was among them. The words he said are true to the loving spirit of Jesus. “Peace be with you!” he said. They may have been frightened about seeing Jesus as well. Mary and the women stayed at the cross and the scripture says John stayed, but most of them ran and hid in fear for their own lives. They abandoned him in his darkest hour. Mary told them Jesus had risen. She had no reason to fear a rebuke from him, but would he be angry with his disciples?
His words must have quieted their anxious souls, just as they should quiet ours. He tells them to be at peace. He is not angry with them. He shows them his hands where the nails were and his side where the spear was and they are overjoyed. This was not a ghost. He had a body, complete with scars, from the crucifixion. Jesus was the real deal, here among them and his message was to be at peace, which means stop worrying. Their sorrow had turned to joy, just as Jesus promised.
The bigger picture is that he died for our sins. We don’t have to worry about anything. We have been promised an eternity with him and we should be at peace.
He tells them that as God sent him, now he is sending them.Then he tells them to receive the Holy Spirit. (who will appear fifty days later, at Pentecost.)
Thomas didn’t happen to be with the others that day, but they couldn’t wait to tell him the news. We like to pick on Thomas for being a doubter, but perhaps he was just a realist. The entire story was just too much for him to believe. He makes his famous remarks, that unless he sees those nail marks in Jesus’ hands and touches them and touches Jesus’ side, he won’t believe that Jesus has risen.
A week later, they are in the same house and this time, Thomas is with them. Jesus again appears even though the doors are locked. Again, he says “Peace be with you!” He walks right up to Thomas, looks him in the eye and invites him to touch his scars. Thomas simply says, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus isn’t angry. He wants them to believe and he wants them to be at peace with all that has happened.
Then he blesses all future believers. He says, “Because you have seen me, you believed; blessed are those who have not seen me and yet believed.”
The chapter ends by saying there were many other miraculous signs which John did not record. I suppose he considered these to be the most important.
What do you think about today’s reading? I’d love to hear from you.
Have an awesome day!