John 20:19-20 (NIV) 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors 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 side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
On verses 19-20: On the evening of the same day that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, Jesus appears behind locked doors to his disciples, who were already gripped with fear because of what the Jews might do to them. So Jesus’ first words to his frightened disciples are, “Peace be with you!” For those who believe in Him, the presence of Jesus is often accompanied with peace.
John 20:21-23 (NIV) 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
On verses 21-23: I am touched by the fact that the resurrected Jesus had no problems sharing what he had with his disciples. He shares his peace with them (v21a). He sends them the way his Father sent him (v21b). He shares the Holy Spirit with them (v22). He even shares the power to forgive others with them (v23). Jesus’ willingness to freely share what he had with his disciples is a big reason why he was such an effective leader.
John 20:24-28 (NIV) 24 Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
On verses 24-28: These verses show that the resurrected Jesus was not merely a ghost, an apparition, or a hallucination. Rather, Jesus resurrected and appeared in the flesh to his disciples. (See also Luke 24:36-43)
John 20:29 (NIV) 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
On verse 29: From this statement we see that:
– Jesus blesses a person’s faith in him;
– believing in Jesus does not require that you first physically see Jesus with your eyes and touch him with your hands.
So is Jesus saying that faith is blind? No. Jesus is emphasizing that if you want to be blessed, you need to have faith in Jesus, and that it is possible – and in fact more pleasing to God – to have faith in Jesus without requiring that you see him with your own eyes or touch him with your hands first.
John 20:30-31 (NIV) 30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
On verses 30-31: John is clear and unabashed about his reason for writing this gospel: he writes so that the reader would believe in Jesus and thus have life in his name. That is the power of believing in Jesus. To believe in Jesus is to have life in Jesus’ name. It’s as simple as that.
Jesus, thank You for so willingly sharing what You have with us – Your peace, Your Holy Spirit, your power. May I live by faith and not by sight, knowing that there is blessing in trusting in You and life in Your name. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!