Summary: Doubt is the number one barrier to peace

Weekend Message/Devotion

April 28, 2019

John 20:19-31

Peace Be with You

Aaaah, the thought of PEACE! We so often hear that entreaty – “Lord, we pray today for World Peace” and feel that same sentiment. What a glorious day that would be – universal peace!

So, what is the real barrier to world peace? My opinion is that we want world peace on our own terms. In our human state, we don’t have the faith nor the willingness, to believe that true world peace is attainable. We have to see sufficient tangibles before we can buy into the concept. Can we call that “doubt”?

We read in today’s gospel message: “Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews” (v-19) They just learned that Jesus disappeared from the tomb.

Jesus told them: “And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” (Mark 8:31)

Surely the women who visited the empty grave relayed the words of the two angels that appeared to them: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (John 24:4-7)

Yet, they now feared some of the Jews would be coming after them. So, they gathered behind locked doors to contemplate what they might do next. Now picture this: Jesus came with the greeting, “Peace be with you”. Jesus appeared to them behind closed and locked doors. (v-19)

Jesus showed them the wounds in His Hands and His side. It doesn’t say why, He did this, but my thoughts are that He did to allay fears and doubts before they manifested among the disciples. And then, He spoke that beautiful greeting: “Peace be with you”.

Jesus appeared to them behind locked doors. How miraculous!

Soon after, the disciples were telling Thomas all about what had just happened because he wasn’t with them that afternoon, in the room behind the locked doors.

And what was Thomas’s reaction? He refused to believe them. Thomas says, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (v-25)

About a week later, the disciples were again gathered behind locked doors and again, Jesus appeared to them and again repeated the greeting, “Peace be with you”. The “Omniscient One” knowing beforehand that Thomas had expressed doubt, addressed him directly.

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving but believing.”

And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (vs 26-28)

This reading addresses much more than John’s account of Jesus appearing to the disciples. Jesus’ words are relevant today and bring us a message of Hope, IF we will but believe.

“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.” (v-31)

So, what are the barriers to our belief? Of course, the simple all encompassing, answer is our humanness.

We doubt until we have some tangible proof in so many areas of our life and even more so when speaking of “spiritual matters” i.e. MIRACLES.

In our reading there are references to miracles of Christ’s ascension, resurrection, omniscience, appearing behind closed doors and a promise of peace.

What are your doubts? What do you question of the bible? What do you doubt when it comes to peace?

How do we overcome these kinds of doubt? Certainly not from a search on the internet! Certainly not from just reading or re-reading the bible! We most assuredly must attain a kind of faith that only comes from a relationship with – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We nurture that relationship in prayer – in praise – in transparent confession of our sinful state and in a desire for PEACE.

May you be blessed with peace. Let us pray-

I humbly and sincerely ask for your prayers![HG1]

Note: It is the practice of this church to preach straight from the bible. We follow the lectionary assigned readings from which the sermon/messages are derived.

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