19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And 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 withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, 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 in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although 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, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, 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 believed.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
There is so much in this story of the first appearances of Jesus to his disciples. I think a score of devotionals could be written could be written about these verses.
Consider vss 19-21. Jesus shows up and says “Peace be with you.” He shows them his wounds and they are glad. Again, he says, “Peace be with you.”
I could use some peace right now. My world is a frightening place and anxiety feels like the only appropriate response. Will my job, my family, my nation, my community ever be secure and the same again? If I dwell on it too much, I am not feeling peace. Should I just shut off the news and retreat into the sanctum of my home? Is that even safe?
Notice that Jesus says “Peace to you” twice. And notice that two things are sandwiched in the middle of the peace which Jesus offers: his wounds and the disciples’ joy. Would you like to have peace? Gaze upon the wounds of Christ and rejoice. The resurrected Jesus died for you. There is nothing that the world can do which is bigger than that. No virus, no economic downturn, no, not even death can surpass what he has done for you. Therein lies a calm joy for you today.
Would you like another: consider vss. 26-27? Jesus appears even though the doors and windows are latched and locked. I have often heard people speak of how Jesus can pass through walls. But I think that misses the point entirely. When he shows up the disciples do not need to tell him about Thomas’ unbelief. He walked up to Thomas and confronted him about it. You see, Jesus did not pass through the locked doors like some vapor. He was there the whole time. He was there when Thomas disbelieved. No one had to tell him about it. Jesus doesn’t so much enter the room as he appears to them. He was there with them the whole time, just like he promised (Matthew 28:20).
Jesus is in your room too. Has he seen your moments of disbelief and doubt? Surely, he has. Does he love you, nonetheless? Absolutely! He did not punish Thomas but helped him. Likewise, this Jesus whom Peter acknowledged yesterday that we do not see but yet we love, trust, and rejoice in, is not absent from our lives. This Jesus is right here with us. Are you afraid right now? Let him hold your hand and calm your heart. He is here and he loves you and nothing can snatch you from his hand.