19 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.”20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.25 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.”26 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.”27 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.”28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”29 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.”30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.31 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. -nrsv
The peace that comes by life
Look at the faithful disciples gathered in hiding, locked in a secret place on account of their grief and fear.
We are in good company if we like Jesus’ first disciples. Hesitant, Afraid, Cautious, Influenced by the judgements of others, separated for worship with their own familiar and regular crew.
Are we any different?
Jesus appears without knocking at the door. No secret passwords. Announced by Mary that he would come to meet them, but did they actually think he would show up? Were the words of witness of Jesus true?
Here is the first real-life hurdle we have in the church from the first week until this week: Are the accounts of the witnesses worth our time and effort.
Gideon’s Bible that stopped a bullet, did it really?
The cancer is going aware, it’s a miracle, or is it just one of the lucky ones in the practice of medicine?
Isn’t it a glorious day! Or is it simply a well crafted customer service habbit?
Amazing Grace, it saved a wretch like me that still gossip, grumble, and hold a grudge to the second generation?
What are the marks of being there:
One of the great opportunities of being a pastor, (and being a church member too!) is the gift of being with someone at the hospital, or visiting in a neighbors home when they are lonely, grieving or afraid.
The catch is one person cannot be with all people at the same time, and sometime we can’t always appear in the room. And it is in these moments that we have some of the greatest opportunities to do ministry. When someone is hurting, scared or feeling empty, our showing up in the name and purpose of being Jesus’ witness brings heavenly peace.
Children, if your parents are tired and frustrated or busy and you want them to play with you right that very moment.. try taking a moment to make them an “I love you note or picture” instead of repeating: Mommy, mommy, mommy, Daddy, daddy, daddy. Give them a few minutes and share you note, give a little kiss or scratch their back the way you like your back scratched, and you will be showing up with the PEACE that interrupts worry, tiredness and grumpiness.
Youth, you can be the friend that someone needs at school and all you have to do is be there at the lunch table if they want to talk, or encourage them with a text, or wait with them after school… and you become the messenger of PEACE.
Grown Ups: You know what it means to be there for someone. Taking sandwiches to folks who are hungry. Bringing water to a community that is thirsty.
The peace that comes by sight
Jesus wants the disciples to have PEACE, so they will remember to operate from a place of faith rather than fear.
When you can see PEACE is real, you can begin to see the details by faith: SUNGLASSES
Peace give that we can understand. Behold I bring you PEACE, be not afraid, Jesus has come to you, and the world.
The peace that comes by faith
Thomas the Willing is a better name, than Thomas the Doubter. He was willing to name his blindness, his limitation, his filter. his expectation.
Thomas had not experienced what all the others had seen and experienced.
We are going to practice PEACE Sharing
So that we can practice Christ Sharing..
What brings you PEACE? Quiet? Order and Structure? Space and Time or Perspective?
Jesus becomes the Word incarnate, Again.
Give some Peace: some quiet. some order, structure, space,
THEN GIVE THE WORD.. spoken
Then give your own sign: Bill Enval’s catch phrase: “There’s your sign”
What would you say that would bring peace and faith… if you know it, SHARE IT, if you don’t you need spend some time figuring that out for YOUR own self… because we are Jesus disciples and we can’t stay inside these walls, when the world needs us out there..