A very sensitive and troubled young woman to whom life had dealt some very hard blows—profound physical and relational dysfunction—spent six days in Yosemite Park in California. She needed to heal and get her footing.

One day while hiking, she spotted a little tuft of grass growing out of the broad surface of a huge rock ledge. This was an epiphany to her—a miracle in which God spoke! Out of the hard, barren, sterile soil of her life, God could bring life out of death!

The resurrection of our Lord is a more decisive and dynamic disclosure of what God can do. It is God’s grand opening of hope, life, joy and peace!

I. Jesus Christ Comes to Meet His Own (John 20:19-23)
The episodic appearances of Jesus during the 40 days were transitional, preparing His disciples for their lives ahead without the constant physical presence of the Lord.

Easter Sunday is a great day, albeit emotionally very taxing. Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene (and Peter), but the disciples gathered “with the doors locked for fear of the Jews.” What a picture of our lives and the church today!

Twice Jesus greeted His own with the traditional, “Peace,” meeting them for the first time together since His passion. He did not say, “Shame on you!” Rather, He spoke of the health, the soundness, the wholeness—the very essence of what the gospel brings (Acts 10:36).

Then He shared proof. Christianity is not afraid of investigation. Jesus wants us to be sure. The disciples were overjoyed. Quickly Jesus moved them to their purpose. In John’s version of the Great Commission, our Lord directed them to their calling: “As the Father has sent Me, so I am sending you.”

However, their need for the endowment of power was addressed as He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Is this a prophecy, prayer or plea? They were ready to face their prerogative (think of the systems of error built on these words on the forgiveness of sin). They must mean Christ’s own have the message of forgiveness and the privilege of assuring those who truly pray for forgiveness; they are indeed absolved in accordance with the promise of Scripture and the provision of Calvary.

II. Jesus Christ Comes to Minister to One of His Own (John 20:24-31)
One of 12 was not present. Jesus went after the one sheep who strayed.

As a melancholic, Thomas was in a funk. Remember his earlier roles in John 11:16 and 14:5? He retreated to isolation and nursed his doubt and depression.
The following week, he gathered with the others, who made sure Thomas was present.

Jesus came among them and again proclaimed, “Peace be with you!” Our compassionate Savior personalizes and individualizes His marvelous grace and mercy!

Jesus immediately entered the skepticism of Thomas, picking up the challenge on the doubter’s terms: “Put your finger here, into My side; stop doubting and believe” (v. 27).

Thomas responded with a gusher of confession and praise: “My Lord and my God!” Here is wonder, wisdom, worship! Christ then gave His final beatitude: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (vv. 29-31).

Jesus wants us to believe and will meet us where we are. Like the man who testified, “I believe! Help my unbelief!” so Jesus met John the Baptist’s doubts: “Do we look for another?” as well as ours.

“Come to the Savior. make no delay
Here in His Word He’s shown us the way
Here in our midst He’s standing today,
Tenderly saying, ‘Come.'” (George F. Root)

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