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John 20:19-31, Thomas

Sunday, April 8

A Doubtful Witness

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

listen with your ears

The spreading of the good news of the risen Christ depended wholly on one thing – witnesses. Most of the story following Jesus’ resurrection in the gospel of John is about the witnesses and what they saw and heard.

First, Mary was sent to proclaim that she had seen Jesus in the garden outside the tomb. Here, Jesus appears to the disciples and sends them into the world to do God’s work. Thomas was not with them, and the first thing they did, of course, was to become witnesses of what they had seen and heard to their friend.

It’s no surprise Thomas was hesitant to believe. Nothing of the sort had ever happened before. But they persisted in their story, and Thomas continued to work, walk, and live with them despite his doubting.

But Thomas wouldn’t wait forever to see Jesus. One short week later Thomas himself had the opportunity to see Jesus with his own eyes. Jesus once again sent them all to be witnesses in the world. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Jesus blesses all who are recipients of the witness of the disciples.

This story wraps up with John’s explanation that these stories were written down for all the people who would not have opportunity to see Jesus face to face. With the benefit of time, we can look back and see that the witness was wildly successful – how few have not yet heard the good news of the risen Christ?

We can continue to be witnesses of what we see and hear – Jesus is all around us, ready to be seen and heard by whomever is open to see and hear.

Narrative Lectionary Text: John 20:19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 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 them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, 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 the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, 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. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 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 have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.