Summary: This is a sermon that focuses on our life just one week after Easter. It follows the central character of Thomas as our representative in that room, one week after Easter.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. Fore he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
John 20:19-31 (TNIV)
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of anyone, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Now Thomas (also known as 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.”
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 performed many others 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 Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
“One Week After Easter."
So here we are. One week after Easter. How was this week for you? How are you today, exactly one week after Easter? Is the excitement of Easter still in you? Has it begun to fade? Has it vanished all together? I ask these questions because in our text today, we find the disciples exactly one week after Easter. Before dealing fully with how we feel, lets begin to understand how these disciples of Christ are doing… one week after Easter.
Our text of John gives us a quick glimpse back to Easter and the splendid revelation of God’s glory in Christ’s resurrection. The disciples are huddled in fear behind a locked door when Jesus appears to them, and when he does - he not only reveals his resurrection, he breathes an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them.
Now, for some reason… Thomas was absent from the disciples. He didn’t get to see Jesus that night. Now the other disciples are sharing the wonderful news with him… “We have seen the Lord!” But what proof do they bring? Only their words. John earlier in his gospel has already described Thomas as a courageous pessimist, and as an honest skeptic, so it is not surprising that his response is “Not gonna believe it till I see it.”
This catches us up with the heart of today’s lesson. One week after Easter, the very same room where Jesus appeared before… Eleven disciples sit in excitement (however I find it quite funny they are still behind locked doors) but yes I imagine them sitting in excitement. And Thomas… probably sitting with his arms crossed, ankles crossed, and brow furrowed.
This is the stage set. Eleven disciples who “know” and wait anxiously; one disciple who doubts, who only has the words of the other disciples to go by. He doubts.
Here, I want to pull back a bit. I think it is far too easy for us to tsk tsk Thomas. I think it is easy to make him into a “straw man” and blow him over with the verse “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” HA! Silly Thomas. YAY modern Christians! Call it a sermon and go home.