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John Chapter 20

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 12, 2016


  • John Chapter 20

    John 20:1-31 NLTse Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. (2) She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the  Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” (3) Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. (4) They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. (5) He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. (6) Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, (7) while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. (8) Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed– (9) for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. (10) Then they went home. (11) Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. (12) She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. (13) “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” (14) She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. (15) “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” (16) “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). (17) “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (18) Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message. (19) That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. (20) As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! (21) Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” (22) Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (23) If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (24) One of the disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. (25) They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” (26) Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. (27) Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (28) “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. (29) Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (30) The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. (31) But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

    Once again we see John leaving out a number of details other authors recorded. John left out the spices the women were carrying. He also left out the other women. John added a number of details he felt were important. We could speculate why for eons and never know the answer. What we can do is look at what John gave us and consider how it relates to previous chapters.

    John used a set of contrasting words to open up this story we look at as a chapter today. Mary ran to tell the disciples and two disciples ran to see the empty tomb. All they knew was, someone took Jesus’ body away. The disciples were hiding. They didn’t know anything about a seal on the tomb and soldiers guarding it. All they knew was what Mary told them. All we know is what John recorded. We could look at other gospels, but we already know, John recorded a special spiritual message. We find clues by looking at how John formed his sentences. The key word here is run. That was the word John repeated. Mary ran and so did the two disciples. John recorded a contrast and pointed it out by repeating the word lying in reference to items found inside that tomb. See the contrast? Now the spiritual lesson is as clear as day.

    As the sun was rising on that graveyard, neither Mary nor the disciples had any idea, their Savior was risen. All they knew was, He was not in that tomb. Another light was shed on the theme of salvation. Two classes were revealed at the beginning of this story. There are Christians who hear about Jesus and run to learn more. Then there are those who continue laying in the same spot just like those icons they worship more than their risen Savior.

    • Mary Goes to the Tomb

      John 20:1-10 NLTse Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. (2) She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” (3) Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. (4) They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. (5) He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. (6) Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, (7) while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. (8) Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed– (9) for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. (10) Then they went home.

      God looked down upon the lifeless body of His own Son. Silence filled all of Heaven while countless numbers of demons danced around that tomb shouting words of victory and every accusation under the sun. No one could understand a word in the confusion. Demons crowded around inside that pitch black tomb on that moonless night to look at the white sheet containing the dead body of the one they could not reach. The only one that didn’t sin.

      They watched Him die. They took their frustrations out in His suffering, guiding the arm of the soldier with the whip as well as the hands of the one who placed that crown of thorns on His head. Demons passed a staff from hand to hand tempting each soldier to outdo the others. Satan’s angels transferred the fear they couldn’t understand onto Pilate as he looked at Jesus, then the crowd, and back to Jesus. Demons controlled voices in the crowd when Pilate asked which one to release. People hurled insults demons were not allowed to utter in the open. And those priests. Satan looked down upon generations of planning. A sinister smile came to his face as he gazed upon the results – Jesus’ dead body in a pitch black tomb.

      God stood more than a million countless miles directly above the scene and watched for what seemed like an eternity. Only God could discern all those accusations one by one. Not one contained a word of truth. They were all lies. God stood up from His throne, leaned over and shed a tear. That single tear fell to earth penetrating the stone tomb, landing upon the lifeless body of His Son. The presence of that tear brought instant silence to the scene. Demons felt God’s presence. Guilt struck them like a blast of frigid air from the north.

      Finally, God said, “that’s enough.” He dispatched two of His mightiest angels. In a flash they traveled from God’s throne to earth. Those demons at the tomb saw their brightness cover the land. Demons looked up knowing what they would see. The sky was filled with God’s angels waiting at a distance. Satan looked at the confused and bewildered faces of his angels. By the looks on their faces, Satan knew there would be questions. Satan had no way of knowing what was happening. In a second his greatest victory was called into question. Were all the accusations he leveled against God true? Long ago Satan accused God of being unfair. Satan told all those angels in his control that God’s law was based on His abusive power. Satan knew he was lying, but what if? Satan didn’t wait around to see what was going to happen next. He was the first one to flee.

      The Roman guards instantly dropped their lances as God’s two angels approached the tomb. Their brilliant light blinded them. All the soldiers fell to the ground. Some tried to scurry away on all fours while others stood and ran. They ran through bushes and into trees. It didn’t matter if they had their eyes open or closed. The soldiers with their eyes opened were almost as blind as those with eyed closed shut. Every so often they could see dark figures flash across the radiant light as demons fled in every direction.

      One of God’s angels approached the tomb as the other watched. He placed one hand on the stone rolled across the entrance and tossed it to the side in a single movement. God’s two angels took their positions on either side of the entrance.

      God appeared in the figure of a man just the right size to walk into the tomb. God walked into the tomb where His beloved Son lay silent. God stood in the tomb for a moment to survey the scene. He was the only one able to look inside that linen wrapping. God saw a brain with no activity. No electrical impulses or chemical reactions. No thought processes at all. God looked at a heart, wounded by a Roman spear. God saw a cold heart without a beat or movement. The muscles were motionless and hardening. Blood was pooling in different parts of Jesus’ body. There was no flow through any veins. No way for that blood to reach the destination it was needed. His lungs had no breath. They lay inside Jesus’ chest, slowly flattening. God saw how joints hardened and microorganisms more numerous then those demons waited to devour the body.

      God reached out, took the cloth off Jesus’ face, carefully folded it, and placed it on the side. God gazed upon His Son’s face for a moment. Time seemed to stand still as God considered the period they spent apart. His infinite love said it was too long. God bent over as if to give His Son a kiss, breathed in His breath of life, then touched Jesus’ cheek to give Him the robe He had been saving. The Father helped His Son to a sitting position. Starting at His shoulders, God removed the linen burial sheet.

      Taking His Son’s hand, God took Him out of the tomb. Once out, they embraced. Jesus felt not only the warmth of His Father but the power from His throne. It was an indescribable sensation only Jesus could relate to as His mind drifted off to their time in Heaven. Jesus lifted His hands from His Father’s back and gazed at the wounds. It was a bitter, sweet feeling in Jesus’ heart when He realized He would carry those wounds for eternity. Jesus whispered in His Father’s ear, “has the debt been paid?” They didn’t need any words between them. Jesus knew His Father’s will as well as the plan of salvation. Jesus knew His Father’s presence answered His question. Jesus took a deep breath and let out a long sigh. God knew it was Jesus’ way of saying, “I am coming home.” It was also Jesus’ shout for joy, knowing He and His Father will forever be one.

      God didn’t need words to express His love for His Son. God knew His Son was safe. God returned His breath. It was now time to return to His throne in Heaven. God’s Spirit would remain with Jesus, while He finished His mission on earth. The homecoming was not yet complete, but it was near.

      Jesus found Himself standing on His own. Light from His Father’s glory still lingered. Jesus took a step and found His joints were still a little stiff. It was a vague reminder of the grave. Jesus knew it would pass in time. Jesus looked down at His hands one more time. Then lifted His robe to look at that wound in His side. Then He glanced down at His feet wondering if people would understand those wounds in His hands, feet, and heart.

      I don’t know about you, but I like these stories. I like reading them and love writing about them. It took about three days to pray about this one. After I wrote it, I looked back, read it, and saw how many spiritual symbols there are in a short story based on an event that took a few minutes.

      I’ve been listening to my own books and I’m surprised when I see how many details I missed. I think the key to inspired writing is to leave the door wide open for God’s Spirit to walk in and take over. I don’t want anyone coming to me for answers. Not when they have a direct path to God’s throne. I hope I can provide immediate comfort no matter what the situation is. But comfort and answers are two different subjects. And there is nothing more personal than an understanding of Jesus’ resurrection.

      When I look over John’s introduction to this chapter and story, I can see how he tried to convey that message. John left out a lot of details which opened doors, windows, and all kinds of avenues for God’s Spirit to work at lightening speed. Notice how John described one scene. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved.

      We’ve covered key words as well as key thoughts throughout this book. Now we can look at those thoughts and where they lead. What feelings do you get from the phrase, “Jesus loved?” Where does that take your mind and how does it relate to the resurrection?

      Many people think John, the author of this gospel is the other disciple Jesus loved. What does that show us about John when he doesn’t mention his own name? We’re in the beginning of this chapter, but after reading the entire chapter, what does the phrase, “taken Him away,” mean to you from a Christian aspect? And the phrase, “we don’t know where they have put Him.” Are you at a point in your spiritual walk you found Jesus, or is He misplaced in your life?

      We see a few symbols used in John chapter 20. We know they’re symbols by the way John called attention to them. Those linen wrappings are material items the world uses to call attention away from the close, intimate message contained throughout the Gospels, entire Bible, and highlighted at the resurrection. The world wanders after a few pieces of cloth while Jesus reaches out with the relationship people need in their lives to survive.

      John has a way of presenting that unseen spiritual battle in and around that tomb in a number of ways. I don’t know how the world misses details like that. I mean, here is the scene of the most important spiritual battle the universe will ever see, and what do people preach about? The obvious material items in the story. I don’t want to make a list of what the world does. I’m sure you’ve heard it more times than you can count. Okay, those stories may be alright for new born Christians crawling on all fours, but are you a baby? How long do you want to remain at that pace? It’s time to look at that spiritual battle through the eyes of a warrior.

      There is that spiritual battle Jesus fought and those spiritual battles we fight. Jesus won the war, but that didn’t stop the enemy from launching attacks using the same weapons and procedures he’s learned to rely on. We can look back in John’s gospel to see a few of them. Or we can look at a few lessons here, see how they point us back to, and what we can learn from them.

      I think the most important lesson begins with a serious look at how we view the Bible. I know there are a million ways. Opening a can of worms doesn’t begin to describe the subjects we could get into when we consider how people interpret scripture. Only a few come to mind. One that irritates me the most is when people try to look important by cutting up scripture, taking out a few choice texts, then wasting 20 to 40 minutes of my life trying to explain what it means. There you have it. Look at their ratio of 1% God’s Word and 99% of what they think. What is anyone going to learn from that ratio other than to reply on another person in a feeble attempt to understand scripture?

      Another method is to put together a group of texts to prove a point. Okay, now we are at a ration of 3% God to 97% themselves. Does it get any better than that? There are a host of other methods. Unless they look at the full story, I am not really interested. I prefer to look at the personality of God in scripture to understand the meaning of the story. I’m sorry, but I’ve seen enough evidence, this world misses more lessons in scripture that they see.

      Taking bits and pieces of scripture out to prove a point doesn’t do a thing for me. I take out my phone or laptop, look up the texts, look at the introduction and summation for the chapter they are quoting, and 99% of the time, they are trying to use texts out of context. I also check a few texts in front of and after what they are using. That is the beginning of the testing I do. From there I consider the entire story. If it concerns the Exodus, consider the entire story. If it is from the gospels, consider Jesus’ entire ministry as well as the entire story, parable, or scene it was taken from.

      Last week a pastor told me, “that method is insane. If we examined every issue based on the story the proof texts is taken from, we would never get anything done.” I thought it was insane to be talking to a degreed, ordained pastor who just admitted he wasn’t familiar with stories from the Bible but was willing to remove portions of them to prove his personal beliefs and points. After I prayed about that statement for a few days, the answer was evident. If people knew those stories in the Bible and how they related to God’s plan of salvation, we would not see 99% of the issues people consider problems today.

      That is part of the spiritual battle we face. Come on let’s face it. Jesus warned about false Messiah’s and all kinds of deceptions. Jesus told His disciples they were only safe when they figured out how to rely on God’s Spirit and His Word. Those disciples wouldn’t have found themselves hiding in an attic some place if they understood scripture. A lot of good they did in the spiritual battle that day because they were not properly equipped for battle. We can either learn from their mistakes, or repeat them.

      Relying on common sense, what do you think? What does it take to become an effective warrior in Jesus’ army? What thought or concept never crossed your mind? What’s the problem? Is your life to busy to battle for your Savior? Too busy to build that spiritual house made of living stones? Are there too many distractions to plan for an eternity? Or is it because you don’t really believe there is something better than the life you lead now? What’s keeping you out of that spiritual battle?

      At this point we could go through a never ending list of excuses. But the main excuse is encountered in the mirror. It’s time to take account of available weapons, material, and the one factor that wins all wars, intelligence. That’s right. What do you think wins wars? Knowing what the enemy is going to do before he does it. The spiritual war is no different. Like any other war or army, we don’t have to worry about knowing the enemies plans, all we need to do is follow orders. Could it be any easier?

      Look back at the introduction to John 20. The disciples didn’t know what was going on. They weren’t ready to fight that spiritual battle – until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. It’s time we found out.

    • Mary Saw Jesus

      John 20:11-18 Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. (12) She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. (13) “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” (14) She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. (15) “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” (16) “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”). (17) “Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” (18) Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.

      I have to ask myself why two angles were sitting on the place where Jesus’ body was? The answer is obvious when we look at key words in this story. Crying and wept dominate the beginning of this part of the story John chapter 20. Obviously those angles are there to calm Mary. They’re also there to calm us. The war is won. That’s the simple message.

      But the beginning of this story is about action. That’s what all that running told us. If we’re supposed to be fighting a war, why are those angles sitting around? Where are they sitting? Inside that empty tomb. What does that tells us? Jesus is off preparing for future battles.

      What does a good commander do before any battle? He prepares His troops. That is what those angels are helping to do. Those angles give us the assurance we need to go into battle. They also show us, they are waiting for us to move, and are ready to assist us. If they assisted God in raising Jesus, doesn’t that tell us angles are ready and able to help us in any way we need their assistance? You have to look into the personality of scripture to understand. Those angles are there to help us with those details. Look at how Jesus began His ministry. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.” (John 1:51 NLTse). Didn’t Jesus fulfill that promise?

      We can also see, Mary was confused. She was lost. She thought Jesus was lost. She wanted to know where His body was, but Jesus gave her much more. We see two major points in this spiritual battle. Jesus and His angels prepare us for battle by encouraging us, we know the war is won, and we will see greater victories than expected. The first step is to go tell our brothers.

      What can we tell our brothers and sisters if we don’t know what to say? How do we know what to say? Where do we get the information from? Scripture gives us the answer. We elect and pay a couple of people to look through scripture for us, write out a plan, print it, then we go out like an army of ants delivering those leaflets. All we need to do is tell people to read it or die. Is that what scripture tells us?

      Look at what scripture actually says. Mary called Jesus, Teacher. What does that tell you? Where did Mary get her message from? Directly from Jesus. Where did Mary go? Where Jesus directed her. What was that message? Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” People read a lot into that message. Why can’t we look at it for what it says? Jesus was still there with her and them. He didn’t leave. Was that so hard to figure out? Let’s compare the two plans.

      Jesus is the Teacher. Jesus provides the message and tells us exactly how and who to deliver it to. Sounds like an easy plan. How does that compare to the plan a lot of church leaders came up with? They think of a message then blindly send people out to deliver their message. Kind of reminds me of the blind leading the blind.

      Why did Jesus tell Mary not to cling to Him? He can’t move when someone is holding onto His legs. Mary couldn’t move either. Go back to the beginning of this chapter where we learned about all that running. There isn’t any time for anyone to hold anybody back. Jesus had to get to work in Heaven and we need to get to work here. If you think Jesus is sitting around on a throne in Heaven admiring the view or listening to a bunch of angels praising Him, you have to read the Bible. That’s the kind of thinking the enemy wants you to believe.

    • The Disciples Meet Jesus

      John 20:19-25 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. (20) As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! (21) Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” (22) Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (23) If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (24) One of the disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. (25) They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

      I can tell you right now, I am missing a lot of finer points in this story. It’s not my role to give you a complete description of the scene with a nice warn cozy feeling inside. All I can give you is a minor overview of the subject to let you know, the world has missed a lot and you have to get up and search for the rest on your own. Did the guy in the parable about that one pearl wait for someone to bring it to him? Did the other guy wait for someone to give him a field full of treasure? That’s the way some people preach the gospel. Just sit and wait. Do you really believe that?

      One of those spiritual battle is to leave those icons behind. We can see how John left them behind and replaced them with a personal touch. Jesus repeated the term, “Peace be with you,” for a reason. Do I need to explain it? I didn’t think so.

      John moved onto a personal touch. Jesus showed them those wounds in His hands and side. Think of it, and put yourself in that scene. Your never going anywhere in your spiritual walk if you can’t place your imagination in a scene like that? Do you want me to write you a story, or are you ready to ask Jesus to tell you the story?

      Don’t be afraid. Let Him take you there. Look at the faces on each of those disciples. Look at how Jesus turned His hands over so they could see both sides. Your imagination is a moving picture, unless your electrical impulses and and chemical reactions are as dead as the beginning of John chapter 20. Hey don’t worry, Jesus was there, and He knows how to get them jump started. Unless your really confused and you want to stay where you are. In that case go ahead and do what your used to doing. Ask your pastor, or someone else, or rely on some stranger on an Internet site. Stay at the baby stage if you like. Remember what Jesus told Joshua. The LORD said to Joshua, “Get up! Why are you lying on your face like this? (Joshua 7:10 NLTse). There is a time to pray and a time to get up and move forward at God’s command.

      There is also a time to share. Don’t forget this lesson began in chapter 13 when Jesus washed their feet. We can see, Jesus began the lesson so we would think of how to work together as we build one part of those lessons onto another. Now we can’t help but see, we need to operate as an army under Christ’s command. Encouraging each other is a vital part of the army. Not only are angles present to encourage and support us, we have each other.

      We need to support each other. Look at the example John recorded. Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

      Not everyone is going to believe at the same rate. Some people take longer than others. When we’re involved in those spiritual battles, we stand as a witness, the evidence people need to step forward. We also see another example John recorded. He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

      There are two parts to this testimony. The first showed where the Spirit and His power comes from, Jesus of course. It does not come from a sermon or video. God’s Spirit comes directly from Jesus, in a close personal way. There are no short cuts or any other way to receive the Holy Spirit. You have to follow the procedure John recorded. You have to believe in Jesus, meet with Him, and have His breath on you, much like that breath of life that put life in Adam. It is that close and personal. And like God formed Adam by hand, only Jesus and the Holy Spirit can remold your life. No one can take their place.

    • Thomas Meets Jesus

      John 20:26-31 Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. (27) Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” (28) “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. (29) Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (30) The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. (31) But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

      Jesus repeated the phrase, “Peace be with you,” so Thomas could hear it. Jesus knows what message people need to hear and He gives it to them. Jesus invited Thomas to out his fingers in the wound in His side and look at His hands. I’ve heard a hundred sermons on this scene and I wonder why the main point is missed so often. People like to concentrate on the doubt while Jesus concentrated on the personal touch.

      Jesus waited for people to reach out and touch Him during His entire ministry. Of course He had to show us, that method is continued in His ministry today. Can you think of a better example? We’re also shown why people can’t touch Jesus, they don’t believe. That’s something we can help work on. But we have to wait for orders. We have to have that close personal touch in our lives and all the belief Jesus asked for.

      Once again the disciples gathered. The past week was spent in celebration with a new found faith and insight to the scriptures they never imagined. They sat quietly for days listening to Jesus open up scripture after scripture for them in a particular order that built understanding upon understanding. The Pharisees, Joseph and Nicodemus joined the group. They gave up their priestly robes for the common dress they felt they deserved. The disciples were surprised to see how silent they were as they sat and listened to Jesus teach.

      It took more than a week for Thomas to some back. He needed some time to think. The disciples couldn’t wait to hear what Jesus had to teach that day. Jesus looked around the room. He loved looking at all their eager faces. But there was one still filled with doubt. Jesus felt the pain in His side again when He looked at Thomas. So Jesus called him over and showed Thomas the wound. “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” Thomas was stuck on what the world taught him. It was a hard thing to break away from. There seemed to be too much to leave behind. It was one of those spiritual battles Thomas had to face, and the other disciples weren’t prepared to help. Casting out that fear and doubt was something Jesus had to do. It worked. Finally Thomas believed like the other disciples. “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

      Jesus covered the present and the future. He knew some people would believe and others wouldn’t. We’ve seen that scene repeated throughout His ministry. Some people needed a constant flow of miracles to believe. Some only believed whenever they needed something. Their faith was weak. The same is still true today. So many people cannot believe in anything they can’t see with their own eyes. Those demons at that tomb may have realized their defeat in the war, but now they thrive on a new deception – revenge. If they are lost, the best they can hope for is to take as many people as they can with them.

      Satan had to quickly come up with a plan. He sat with his most trusted commanders. All of them knew they lost the war. Some of the most power angels in Heaven, who decided to follow Satan, thought about how they were restricted to this world in a flash. God gave them their power and He took a portion of it away in an instant. They knew they had no control over what God wanted to do or when He wanted to do it. They sat and stood quietly, looking at the ground, feeling the heavy weight of defeat.

      Some of them felt like they no longer wanted to exist. But there was no way for them to end their lives. They were stuck here, sentenced to wait like the rest of this world. Some angels watched Jesus teach. They saw how Jesus unfolded the plan of salvation. They saw how much God loved those puny humans they’ve been using as toys and pawns for generations. Some felt sick inside after seeing how they’ve been misled by Satan. But they dare not approach God’s Son. They didn’t dare ask to be forgiven. They looked at the lives they chose, how they opposed God in His own Kingdom, how they caused death, disease, famine, and a countless number of people to join their rebellion. No words can ever express the anguish and shame those demons felt as they gazed upon the strange looking, less than perfect body Jesus choose to exist in for an eternity. Why is it, demons can understand what Jesus gave up, but so many people can’t?

      Maybe it’s because those demons saw what Heaven is and remember how much Jesus gave up. Those demons spent generations remembering what they gave up. Not a day passed when they didn’t look back on everything they had and how it was taken away in a moment. Then all they had to live for was revenge. And when they saw Jesus come to their world, they thought their time had come. If Jesus could come to this world, maybe there was a way for them to return to Heaven.

      They continued to listen to Satan and believe his plans would work. They thought if they killed God’s Son, Lucifer was next in line for the throne. Satan promised, if they could kill Jesus, there was a way to kill God. That moment of glory they felt was gone. Now all they had was the sad fact, knowing their time was short.

      After a few days one of Satan’s followers spoke up. “We almost had God’s Son to use as a ransom. There’s no sense in trying to figure out what went wrong. Reports coming in tell us only one thing, the disgusting way Jesus loves those people. Our only hope is that is true. If He loves them so much, our only choice is to claim as many souls as we can, then offer to exchange them for the freedom we deserve.”

      The plan sounded simple and it was the only thing they had. It was their last hope. In a last ditch effort to save themselves, Satan ordered his demons to secure and sentence every soul to a life of sin. Satan and his angels were convinced, if they could gain enough numbers, surely God would have to give them what they wanted.

      Satan rallied his troops. He pointed out how Jesus died and told them, “if death is what God wants, we’ll give it to Him.” Satan told his angels to accumulate a list of all the accusations they leveled at Jesus’ dead body. Satan had his angels study that list, add to it, and use every deception to make every living soul bow down to him. “With enough numbers, we’ll prove Jesus’ death was useless, and God will have no choice but to give us what we wanted all along, our freedom.”

      After eight days, the disciples were still fighting fear behind a locked door. Thomas wasn’t the only one who struggled with doubts. Fear is a powerful force to deal with. Everyone has to deal with it in their own way. No one will explain to another person what their real fear is. They can’t explain it, because they’re not sure what it is, or where it comes from. Go ahead, try to explain to yourself, what your real fear is and where it comes from? Have you ever tried to explain your fear to anyone?

      Jesus is the only one who understands where fear originated and who placed it there. He can go back to the very moment a demon planted that fear and exactly what they did to make it grow. Jesus can see inside you to see how that fear seems to sleep for a while, then suddenly takes over like an unseen force controlling every nerve. Jesus is the only one who can calm that fear. Jesus knows how to replace that fear with His love. There is no other way.

      Science has tried to study fear. They’ve tried to develop drugs to combat fear. Drug dealers make a living on the same concept, but they call it addiction. Both of them know, when the drug wears off, the fear returns and people think, maybe more drugs will help. Industries and fortunes have been built on fear. They know how to use it. They are guided by the greatest source of fear in the universe, Satan and his angels. We cannot hope to combat that fear on our own. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

 

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