Going Deeper 04.09.2021

The Gospel reading for Easter 2... John 20:19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

This is another text which invites us to utilize our God-given gift of imagination, while at the same time praying for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, to enter the story.  

Put yourself in the locked room with the other followers of Jesus.  Take a few moments to dwell on the emotions involved, what it feels like to have seen or heard of the crucifixion of Jesus, whom you have come to admire and love on such a deep level.  You have seen His miracles/signs, each displaying not only Jesus' power and revealing Him to be the long-awaited promised Messiah, but also showing His great love and compassion.  But He had been killed.

How do you respond to Mary Magdelene's claim to have seen Jesus that morning?  What combination of shock, fear, wonder, and hope do you feel when Jesus suddenly appears to you within the locked room?  Hear His words: "Peace be with you."  See His wounds.  Feel His breath/Spirit being breathed upon you.  Listen for His voice, repeating those precious words: "Peace be with you."  Hear Him commission you to go forth on His behalf to forgive sins, to share the Gospel truth with others.

As you end your meditation, commit yourself to "practicing the presence" of Your peace-bringing Savior throughout your day, remembering His promise to be with you always...

Together in His Presence,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"