Sermon of the Week, 5/1/2011
- SERMON OF THE WEEK
May 1, 2011
Next Sunday is the second Sunday after Easter. The gospel reading is from John 20:19-31.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
19 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!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.�
Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 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.”
26 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!” 27 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.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
The Purpose of John’s Gospel
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe[b] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:19)
Jesus' closest disciples had huddled together in a small house in the City of Jerusalem 2000 years ago to make sense of all that has been going on and yet afraid of what may happen to them next. They had securely locked the doors of the house out of fear for what the Jewish leaders might do to them. The news of the empty tomb had already reached them. Mary Magdalene and other women had reported seeing Jesus alive. Peter also had seen Jesus. Suddenly there was a knock at the door. The hearts pounded a little faster when they heard that knock. They thought the authorities have come to arrest them. Everyone was relieved as Cleopas and another disciple entered the room. They seemed excited and began sharing what had happened to them in Emmaus. As they were walking to that village, a stranger had joined them and bean to ask questions. They told him about the events surrounding Jesus' death. For the rest of their journey, the stranger had explained all kinds of scriptures concerning the suffering and glory that the Messiah would experience.
Suddenly Jesus appeared before them. The disciples first thought he was a ghost and were terrified. After the moment of revelation that he was in fact Jesus himself, their fears were gone. Their sorrows were turned into joy. Their hopes were revived.
Jesus' message to his disciples was, "Peace be with you."
Then Jesus commissioned his disciples to accomplish his mission. "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you . Go and make disciples of all nations, baptize them in my name and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you." And with that Jesus breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit". He blew upon them and said, "If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven, if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven"
Apostle Thomas was not present when Jesus appeared to them. They went to the Apostle and told him what had happened. But the Apostle's response was, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, I will not believe it."
It was was one week later when the disciples were together, Jesus appeared in their midst and gave his attention to the one who needed him the most. Jesus said to the Apostle, "“Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. Because you have seen me, you have believed; Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
The question many believers ask is, "How can one believe if he hasn't seen the resurrected Christ the way Apostle Thomas did? In verse 31 of the text, the answer is given. "These are written that we may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and be believing in Him we may have life in His name. This is the message we all should embrace with the personal commitment such that Apostle Thomas made when he addressed Jesus, "My Lord and my God."
Just as Jesus called on Apostle Thomas to believe him, Jesus calls all of us to believe him.
Prepared by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil