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Sharing God's Love and Word Within and Beyond Calvary

Sermon April 11 2021

Easter 2 B 2021 Sermon

John 20:19-31


Alleluia!  Christ Is Risen!  Christ is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia! 

This morning we find the disciples huddled together behind closed doors grieving the loss of their beloved teacher and friend.    Hidden away from the public, the disciples’ hearts were filled with sadness and guilt.  

Yes, they had heard rumors that Christ was/is alive from the women, and Peter and John, and even the two disciples who saw Him as they traveled to Emmaus, but still they did not believe that their Lord had Risen. 

Instead, fear of the Jews had filled their hearts that evening, and they all felt bad because they all had abandoned the Lord and denied Him.   

But then suddenly, the Lord was in their midst.  And the Lord greeted them with the message “Peace be with you.”  And then He showed them His hands and His side.  And the disciples were immediately filled with joy because the Lord was with them. 

The disciples had good reason to rejoice after their sorrow.  Christ’s greeting to them was/is precious.  His greeting was no ordinary “How are you doing?” His words to them (and us) were/are filled with spirit and life.  The peace that Jesus offers provides the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation to all who believe and trust in His promises.  

And that, my friends, is what we share with each other when we share the peace during our Sunday worship service.  For you see, the sharing of the peace is not just a time to say: “Good Morning,” but is a time to share with others the peace and life that we have received from the Risen Lord. 

Christ’s Resurrection means your sins have been forgiven, and because your sins have been forgiven, you can go and forgive the sins that others have committed against you. 

It is no wonder then that we joyfully shout “Alleluia!  Christ Is Risen!  Christ is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia!” during the Easter Season.  What better joy is there than to acknowledge the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the gift of life everlasting.   

And this would be the end to our message today, if it were not for the fact that Thomas was not with them when Jesus came.  Scripture informs us that Thomas had willfully stayed away from the other disciples that evening, and that Thomas had refused to believe the multiple reports of the resurrection he had heard.   

So, when the disciples told him that they too had seen the Lord, Thomas refused to believe them.  “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hand, and I put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 

And in his unbelief, Thomas jeopardized receiving the peace that Jesus secured for us by His wounds.  For you see, the mark of the nails in His hands, and the huge wound in His side means nothing to us if we do not believe and trust that Jesus bore our sins on the Cross in order to make intercession for all our transgressions. 

Thankfully, Jesus was not done with Thomas.  The text today states: “A week later His disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them, and although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said: “Peace be with you.’’’

Then Jesus 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.”’ 

And Thomas responded: “My Lord and my God.”  

Jesus said to Thomas: “Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet come to believe.” 

And the Good News concerning Thomas is that Jesus included Thomas in His Redeeming Activity even though he was not there that night.  It is Good News because we were not there that night either.  Think about it.  Today we have even more reasons not to believe than Thomas did all those years ago. 

We have the passage of time.  We have advances in science and technology.  We have secular teachings and atheist thinking.  We have… and you fill in the blank why it is easy not to believe that Jesus rose from the dead and offers us His peace.  The question then is this… Can we trust that the words “Peace be with you” were also spoken to us? 

Hear now the words of Jesus.  “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet come to believe.”  That, brothers, and sisters in Christ, is you and me.  No one gathered here this morning has seen the wounds, but we are blessed when we believe. 

We might blame our doubts on not having seen Jesus, but Jesus assures us that is not a problem.  In fact, our Gospel text today informs us that “Christ’s life, ministry, death and resurrection have all been written down so that we may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through our faith we may have life in His name.” 

And so today, even in the midst of the locked doors that occur in our lives, Christ’s Resurrection shines through and Jesus says to each one of us “Peace be with you.”  

        Alleluia!  Christ Is Risen!  Christ is Risen Indeed!  Alleluia! 

Let us pray: Almighty and eternal God, the strength of those who believe and the hope of those who doubt, may we, who have not seen, have faith and receive the fullness of Christ’s blessing, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.