Day 388, Sunday April 11, 2021
The assigned Scripture readings for this the second Sunday of Easter are Acts 4:32-35, Psalm 133, John 1:1-2:2, John 20:19-31.
Let’s look at John 20:19-31 from the Message – again, read it from other translations.
19 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you."
20 Then he showed them his hands and side.
21 Jesus repeated his greeting: "Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you."
22 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. "Receive the Holy Spirit," he said.
23 "If you forgive someone's sins, they're gone for good. If you don't forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?"
24 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples told him, "We saw the Master." But he said, "Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won't believe it."
26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you."
27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. "Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don't be unbelieving. Believe."
28 Thomas said, "My Master! My God!"
29 Jesus said, "So, you believe because you've seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing."
30 Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book.
31 These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.
According to John, he places this encounter with Jesus on the first Easter night. Jesus here encounters as well as commissions other disciples. He pronounces peace to help comfort the disciples and reassure them that it is he. He commissions the disciples, gives them the promised Spirit, and authorizes them to forgive sins.
This is also the section where we experience the “doubting Thomas.” Let me share this commentary on “Holiness of Heart and Life – Doubt”. “The apostle Thomas is often referred to as ‘doubting Thomas.” A more significant title would be ‘absent Thomas.’ If Thomas had been present on the earlier occasion when Jesus appeared to the disciples, he would never have made his original statement of vigorous denial. We don’t know why Thomas was absent previously; he may have had good and justified reasons. But whatever the reason, it was his absence that caused him to suffer a long week of emotional and spiritual struggle. The best and surest place to maintain faith is in the company of fellow believers.” CEB Wesley Study Bible p 1366