Summary: A week after Easter what was the Church doing? Some were doubting. Some were pondering what happened. Some were seeking the Holy Spirit.
“After Easter – Then What?”
March 30, 2008
“Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 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."
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!" 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."
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ.” John 20:24-31
Easter was fantastic for me this year. The presence of the Lord was in our services – from the morning breakfast together to the barbecue after the morning service. Maybe it was all that good food and fellowship – or maybe it was because my birthday was so close to Easter this year and everyone made me feel so loved and appreciated. It may have been the large number in attendance, too. But Easter was a great day for me.
Easter was a great day for the disciples, that first Easter, too. I can hardly imagine how depressed and discouraged they must have felt after Jesus was crucified. They were hiding behind locked doors afraid and hopeless and discouraged. Resurrection Sunday changed all that. From doom they went to delight; from tragedy to triumph; from fear to faith. What a difference one day can make. Someone once said, “It is always too soon to quit.” Easter makes that point. What a glorious, wonderful, emotional day it must have been. It changed everything. But what was going on after Easter? Let me suggest a few things.
First, some still doubted. Can you blame them? They saw Jesus killed. They saw the blood run down His side and saw His lifeless body placed in the tomb. I don’t know if you have ever seen a lifeless body – but I have seen many. And when the spirit is gone from the body – it’s dead! To think a dead body could come back to life is pretty hard to believe. It isn’t natural. Besides that – the government had begun to spread a false rumor around that the stories of His resurrection were not true. The government wouldn’t LIE to us – would they?
Thomas doubted that Jesus didn’t come back to life. I suspect that he was only one of many. But you know what? He wasn’t kicked out of the fellowship. He wasn’t shunned or scorned. He may have been pitied and prayed for – but his doubts didn’t keep him from his spiritual brothers and it didn’t keep Jesus from seeking him out. One week after Resurrection Sunday Jesus came to him. Jesus told Thomas:
"Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
I can almost hear Jesus’ kind and gentle words. I can almost see His tender eyes as He looked at his friend. They had spent three years together going from town to town – spreading the Good News. Thomas had seen many miracles. And yet he stilled doubled. He had a choice to make. Jesus said, “Stop doubting. Start believing.”
That’s a choice that each one of us has to make at some time in our lives. We have to choose to stop doubting and we have to choose to start believing. Belief is a choice. You can believe evolution or creation –it a choice. The facts are about the same for either side. You can believe in heaven or hell – it’s a choice. You can believe Jesus is the way to abundant life now and eternal life later – or you can believe Buddha or some other deity is the way. It’s your choice. A week after Easter Thomas was making that choice. Today people are still choosing. Have you chosen to believe? If not – now is the time.
After choosing to believe – after Easter, the believers were given jobs to do in Jesus’ absence. After choice – comes commitment. Listen to the Bible.
“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?"