Summary: A sermon for the 2nd Sunday of Easter Jesus coming to the upper room
2nd Sunday of Easter
"Believing is Seeing"
"On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you." And 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; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, 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 in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe." Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but 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; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing." 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 believe." Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name." John 20:19-31, RSV.
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the risen Christ. amen
I would like to ask you think about this question this morning. The question is, "If Jesus Christ would appear to a group of people, what would your reaction be?" Think about it for a while. Would you panic? Would you run? Would you hid in fear? Would you doubt? Would you ask for proof?? Did he really appear, Would you cry out in love, "My Lord and My God?" "Would you disbelieve because you weren’t in the group? What would your reaction be to the question that Jesus appeared to a group of people?
In our gospel lesson this morning, we have two different reactions to the appearance of Jesus to the disciples. Let’s get a feel for the situation. The disciples were crowded into the upper room. They had heard word just that morning that Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb. The women had come to tell them he had risen. But they didn’t believe. They had their doubts. John and Peter went and checked it out. Peter saw, but he couldn’t put it all together. John saw and as it said in last week’s text, he believed. So, I would imagine that he went back and spent the rest of the day trying to convince the rest that what he saw, the empty tomb, the folded linen clothes, the head piece sitting by itself, that this was all the signs that Jesus had indeed risen.
Can you imagine the conversation that took place during that day? They were too afraid of the Jews and the Romans to go out and see, or look for Jesus, so they sat in that upper room sulking, praying, arguing, discussing, pondering, recalling the words of Jesus. I can imagine that John was leading the conversation and Peter boldly trying to make sense of it, and the women, especially Mary was trying to convince the rest of her conviction that Jesus had risen, because she had traveled the long road of doubt and despair and had come to the conclusion, the realization, the belief that Jesus had indeed risen.
So here they all were talking, praying, arguing, and then in an twinkle of an eye, in an instance, in a flash of a second there stands Jesus in the middle of them, and says "Peace be with you." What was their reaction? What would your reaction be? According to the text it says, "When he I said this he showed them his hands and his side."
I would imagine they might have said, "Is it really you Lord?" "Have you really risen from the dead? Then to prove it was him, he shows them his hand, and his side. His hands that bore the marks of those cruel nails driven in, his side where the spear was thrust and water and blood flowed from it. Then the text says,"Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord." They believed it was him. They celebrated. They were excited. I can imagine they danced around, hugged each other, had tears flowing from their eyes, they might have said, "Yes, John was right, Mary was right, He has risen. He was right when he told us after 3 days he would rise again." Can you imagine the joy, the excitement, the wonder, the thrill of these people. Here they were wondering, hoping, but hoping with not too much hope least they be disappointed that he had not risen, here now in the middle of them was Jesus alive, risen from the dead, standing among them. Their reaction was joy, tears, happiness, excitement, a burden of despair had been lifted from their hearts and souls. The sorrow of the previous Friday had turned into excitement, joy and fulfillment of the resurrection promise. Then according to John’s text, Jesus gives to them the power of the spirit, he had his Pentecost experience on the evening of the first Easter. But that experience is not the central point of this text, the appearance of Jesus to the disciples is the main point.