Now Thomas (also known as the Twin), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. (John 20:24)
Friday, First Week of Easter
Father, you gather the nations to praise your name. May all who hear the good news of Jesus and his resurrection believe in him and be baptized in his name, and may all who are reborn in baptism be one in faith and love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
On the day of resurrection, when Jesus first appeared to his disciples in the upper room, Thomas was not with the other disciples. We are not told why he was not there. It remains a mystery to be unknown until our resurrection on the last day
We were not there either. Nor were the rest of the population groups in the first century Roman world. Nor were the other nations like the Germanic hordes, the Chinese, and the many other tribal groups that were scattered across the planet.
What about them? Why didn’t Jesus appear to them also? Could not Jesus, with all his glory restored, have appeared to people in all nations so that they would see him face to face and know that Jesus was the one sent by God to save the world from its sin and give us all life? Why not them also?
That wasn’t God’s plan.
God’s plan was that the church, his people, would be his messengers. Jesus appeared to a few, to the 12 and about 500 others, who were eyewitnesses of his resurrection. Through them, the world would hear the message of life.
Thomas was an example for the rest of how hard this work God had given them would be. When the disciples told Thomas that they had seen the risen Lord, Thomas did not believe them.
Thomas was no stranger to Jesus. He had been with Jesus for three and a half years. He had seen his miracles, watched him walk on water, raise the dead, and calm the storm. He heard Jesus declare that he would suffer, die, and then three days later rise again from the dead. Yet when he heard the news, he did not believe until he saw Jesus face to face.
If it was so hard for Thomas to believe, then what hope do any of the rest of us have who have not seen Jesus? Is it possible for people to believe the resurrection by only a personal testimony?
The answer is no, not without the help of God’s Holy Spirit.
Martin Luther helps us to grab hold of this truth when he shares his explanation of the third article of the Apostles Creed—the one that deals with the role of the Holy Spirit. He explains, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian Church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.”
If you believe in Jesus and his resurrection, take a moment right now to thank God for the work of his Holy Spirit in your heart. If you don’t yet believe, I invite you to say a prayer to God that he would send his Holy Spirit into your life so that you may know Jesus and trust in him for your life.
Rejoicing in the Resurrection,
Pastor Langdon Reinke
P.S. Hope you and your family are healthy and safe. We are in this together. We have help available if there are needs. Please let me know.