Greetings in Christ! When we left off in our last post, Jesus appeared to Mary and told her to go tell the disciples that He was ascending to his Father and her Father, to his God and her God. As we pick up in Chapter 20, Mary goes to tell the disciples as Jesus instructed. But before we continue, let us consider the implications of the miracles that accompanied the crucifixion. These phenomena show not only how the God who attends the funeral of every sparrow (Matt 10:29) was grieving over the death of his Son, but what his death and resurrection mean in terms of the new covenant:
• As there was a ‘thick darkness’ at the giving of the law (Ex 20:21), so was there at the fulfillment of it. (1)
• As there was an earthquake at the giving of the law (Ex 19:18), so was there at the fulfillment of it. (2)
• As the law required a veil to separate man from God (Ex 26:33), the fulfillment of the law rent the veil in two. (3)
• As the giving of the law brought death (Ex 32:28), the fulfillment of the law brought life from death. (4)
These phenomena demonstrated that the time of the new covenant had arrived. (Jer 31:31; Heb 8:8) Together with the miracles of Jesus and the miracles of the apostles, there was abundant evidence for the new and living faith of Christianity — freedom from dead works; a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe through faith alone in Christ alone; the fulfillment of the promise of the coming Messiah. Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Give us understanding, Father, as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
19 ¶ Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
Just as Jesus did not need the stone to be rolled away to leave the tomb (the angel rolled the stone away for the disciples, not for Jesus), He did not need an open door to enter where the disciples were assembled. We will likewise receive bodies with extra-dimensional capabilities after the pattern of Jesus. Always patient and understanding, Jesus does not ask them why they are not on their way to Galilee as He instructed. (Matt 28:7; Mark 16:7) He simply blesses them.
20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
Here we have yet another demonstration of Jesus’ divinity. Just as God (the Son, I believe) breathed the breath of life into Adam (Gen 2:7), Jesus breathed the life-giving Holy Ghost into the apostles. Receiving the Holy Spirit is what brings us from death to life. (Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 12:13) It is the Holy Spirit that empowers the Christian. I ask to be filled with the Spirit every day.
23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
24 ¶ But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26 ¶ And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Verse 26 shows how they began meeting on Sunday immediately following the resurrection. In verse 19, it says they were meeting on the same day Jesus rose — the first day of the week. Here they are after eight days, meeting again on Sunday. The practice of meeting on Sunday continues in the Book of Acts and the epistles. (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2) I would never be legalistic about which day is the right one to meet on (Rom 14:5), but these verses show that the early church did indeed meet on Sunday.
27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.
Jesus freely received this confession from Thomas, showing Jesus truly is God. (Isa 9:6; John 1:1; 8:58; Phil 2:6; 1 Tim 3:16; Heb 1:8; 1 John 5:7; Rev 1:8, 11, 17, 18; et al.) The apostles did not permit men to bow to them. When we see angels in Scripture, they likewise refuse worship. But Jesus freely accepts Thomas’ confession that He is God.
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
30 ¶ And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
John concludes Chapter 20 with his reason for writing his Gospel: that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. This is the reason John is a great book to give a nonChristian. Isaiah 55:10, 11 says For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. If God had John write his Gospel so people will believe, they will. 1 John is another good choice to use for evangelizing, for the same reason. (1 John 5:13)
Our key verses in this section are 19, 21, and 26. The disciples had their peace stolen from them when Christ was crucified, but now He comforts and assures them by saying Peace be unto you. I believe He is saying the same thing to us. The fact that Jesus conquered the grave gives me great peace, but to have this peace, one must believe. Why was Thomas not with the others when Jesus appeared unto them? It does not say, but if I were to make an educated guess, I would say it was because of his unbelief. I suspect that even before they saw Jesus, the others had a measure of faith, and that is why they were together. Because of Thomas’ unbelief, he missed the blessing of seeing Jesus. He also missed the blessing of receiving the Holy Ghost when Jesus breathed on the disciples (v 22). Yet once Thomas saw the risen Lord, he confessed Jesus as My Lord and my God. He finally believed.
That, my friend, is the key to peace: Believing that God loves us enough to become a man, then suffer and die for us. Believing that He rose again from the dead. Believing that He freely forgave the ones who forsook Him and fled, denied Him, and doubted Him. Believing that He now lives in our hearts through faith (Eph 3:17) and all we have to do to receive his Spirit is ask. (Luke 11:13) Jesus said unbelief will weaken our ability to overcome the enemy. (Matt 17:20) The writer to the Hebrews puts it even more plainly:
…..Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
When I read the headlines of our day, it seems apparent why the world has no peace; why they are turning to opioids and committing suicide; I can see why their hearts are going to fail them for fear. (Luke 21:26) Yet in Christ, we have great peace — peace that passes understanding. In closing, if you are having trouble finding peace, especially if it is because of a trial you are going through, remember that the peace of God does not come from understanding. God’s peace passes understanding. (Phil 4:7) Father, thank You for giving us your Son. Increase our faith, Father, that we may sojourn here in peace, that we may boldly come before your throne of grace, and that we may have the confidence to follow wherever You may lead. That we may patiently occupy as we wait for your Son to return and fetch us home. We pray this in Jesus’ holy and precious name. Amen.
Prophecy Update: On several occasions, I have posted that the events of the last three years are leading to a worldwide digital ID, a precursor to the mark of the beast. (Rev 13:16-18) It is now being reported that the United Nations (UN) is planning to do just that, create a digital ID that will be linked to all bank accounts. Their plan is similar to a plan by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for digital IDs. Since its inception in 1945, the UN has been working toward the goal of world governance. While the UN functions as the administrative body, the more recent WEF raises funds from corporations and recruits world leaders to implement the UN plans. Incidentally, the WEF also has plans for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to write a new Bible that is “correct.” I have previously posted about how I believe AI will be an integral part of the new world order. Maybe even more so than I thought. These things are not to be ignored. Along with all the signs that Jesus gave us to look for, these events are converging with the apocalyptic pattern composed by the prophets. They are clarion calls telling us to get ready. It gives me great peace, knowing that Jesus knew what would happen and He told us in advance. The disciples seemed to often be worried and troubled but Jesus would then remind them not to fear and not to worry. Even when He was crucified, what looked like the greatest tragedy in the history of the world turned out to be history’s greatest victory. Yes, judgment is coming, but in the Bible, judgment is always paired with deliverance. Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
(1) Luke 23:44. The darkness during the last three hours of the crucifixion was observed as far away as Rome. According to Spurgeon, historical records show it was said at the time, “God is suffering, or the world is perishing.”
(2) Matthew 27:51. A modern geological study found evidence an earthquake took place at this time.
(3) Mark 15:38. The veil was torn from top to bottom, showing it was God who did it. Ancient Jewish writings testify the veil in the temple was a handbreadth thick, 60’ tall, and 30’ wide. It took 300 priests to move it. This description matches the description of the veil given by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. Only God could have rent such a veil, just as He rent the rocks (Matt 27:51). Other similar rendings of statures and buildings at that time were noted by Seneca. By rending the veil in the temple, God demonstrated how the true Holy of Holies in heaven is now open to all who believe. (Heb 8-10) We no longer need a priesthood to mediate our approach to God as we now have access through Jesus, our High Priest. (1 Tim 2:5; Heb 4:14-16)
(4) Matt 27:52, 53. And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.