The “Daily Devos” are authored by my colleague and friend, Phil Brandt, and may contain edits and adaptations by yours truly.
Friday of the Second Week of Easter – John 20:19-31
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.
This text has been infamously known as the doubting Thomas text. Yet, upon hearing it this last Sunday it struck me that this text should more appropriately be known as the “peace be with you” text. No matter what guilt, fear, doubt or other emotions and thoughts the disciples may have been harboring, Jesus’ speaks the first word and that word to his disciples is “peace be with you… let there be no sin between us.”
Even locked doors cannot stop Jesu mission of peace. 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. With words of peace having just been given He walked up to Thomas and confronted him about his turmoil. Jesus already knows my turmoil. 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, your moments of turmoil? Surely, he has. Does he love you, nonetheless? Absolutely! The first words out of Jesus mouth to you are, “Peace be with you… let there be no sin, no separation, no brokenness between us.” Then Jesus steps into our turmoil. 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. Do you doubt? Are you afraid right now? Are you uncertain of the future? Let him hold your hand and calm your heart. He is here and he loves you and nothing can snatch you from his hand.