Summary: Second Sunday of Easter Sermon Thomas
2nd Sunday of Easter
"Believing is Seeing"
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, discuss 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 drived 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.
Jesus leaves as quick and quietly as he came. Then Thomas returned. Thomas had not been with the rest. He was off alone. He was so full of grief, despair, loneliness that he could not stand to be with the others. He was off alone with his grief.
He was like one of the daughters of a Christian woman in the following story
. " A Christian mother died and her two daughters discussed whether they should attend church the next day since it was Sunday. One said, she thought people might think it strange that they appear in public so soon after their mother’s death. And besides, I don’t want people coming up to me trying to talk and not knowing what to say’ said one daughter. I would rather stay home alone with my grief, my sorrow. The other daughter said she was going to church. She wars going because she needed the support, the encouragement, the comfort of the believing community. She needed this group to share her grief, she needed this group to pray with, to sing with, to talk about her mom with, she needed her Christian friend". So she went to church."