Ezra 3-5 John 20
“A week later the followers were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came in and stood right in the middle of them. He said, ‘Peace be with you.’” (John 20:26 NCV)
After Jesus rose from the dead, one of the appearances Jesus made was to the disciples who were huddled together behind locked doors hoping to stay away from the Jewish and the Roman guards. If they’d been identified as followers of Jesus, they might have been crucified also. It had happened before. Then, Jesus appeared in their midst, showed them His hands and His side. They were ecstatic. They saw it really was Jesus who had risen from the dead. Only Thomas wasn’t there, and he wasn’t going to believe them; he’d only believe if he could see the same thing they had. The disciples had been encouraged by the presence of Jesus, but they still kept the door locked and a week later, Jesus came through the locked door and revealed Himself again. He pronounced peace on the disciples, and a blessing on those who didn’t see Him after His resurrection and still believed.
What does it take for someone to move from unbelief to belief? Even though the disciples had heard stories about Jesus’s resurrection from the women and Peter and John, they weren’t ready to believe. They were afraid that they’d be the next victims. Even though all the other disciples had seen the risen Jesus, Thomas hadn’t, and he was going to be stubborn about believing. He wasn’t going to believe until he could experience Jesus the same way the other disciples did. His resolve was strong – then Jesus appeared, and one look convinced him that Jesus had risen from the dead. We don’t have the luxury of seeing the risen Savior in person. What we do have is the testimony of those saints who’ve gone before us. We have the New Testament which tells us of the Resurrection, and the history of the church. We see the despair of the disciples at the crucifixion and then the joy and determination of those who believed they’d seen Jesus risen from the dead. With all of this truth, I wonder why more people don’t follow Jesus. Then I realize that the only way some people are able to understand how Jesus works is be seeing followers of Jesus in action. The truth there is that we don’t do so well there. When we should show love, we often act hatefully. When we should be forgiving and compassionate, we’re self-righteous and cold. The message of Jesus has been spread the same way from the beginning of the church until now: one person showing and telling another person about the goodness of God. When we focus on our “superiority” instead of God’s holiness, we drive people away from the Savior who loved them enough to die for them. We, as the Church, need to re-examine our lives, our actions, and our thoughts to understand where we stray from God’s truth and drive people away.
Lord, I heard and saw the truth of Jesus from many people before I committed my life to You. Let my life and my words be tempered by Your love and grace. Use me to show others the amazing life You want for them.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.