A Blessed People

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

We are a blessed people. We believe even though we haven’t seen Jesus face to face.

Do you feel blessed? Do you feel the blessing of God in your life? Do you sense God’s favor?

Our “mission” in life is simple when you boil it down: God blesses us so that we may bless others. Both parts of that blessing can take many forms. It’s up to us to use our talents, giftings, money, knowledge, wisdom, and skills to bless others. It could be a helping hand, a kind word, the full gospel message, a few bucks for gas, a visit to a shut in, or a thousand other ways.

Continue Reading

That Important

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 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.”

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!” 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.”

Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:24-28

Thomas was an honest, practical man. Others have called him Doubting Thomas but you can’t judge a man for wanting verifiable proof. You just know the others wanted to see the scars for themselves too but didn’t ask.

A week after Thomas wanted to see the scars, Jesus appeared and he showed the scars to Thomas. Thomas had an entire week to think about the resurrected Savior. He had an entire week to consider the claims of this man, a week to process the events of the previous week.

Sometimes we too need time to think, to process, to analyze. If Jesus was in fact who he said he was, the decision to believe would be one of epic proportions. He would be one of twelve who would turn the world upside down – that decision to believe was that important.

For most of us, our decisions we’re in the midst of making are not that life altering, but they are important to us. We don’t like making the wrong decision. Nobody does. You can always correct course if you make a wrong choice. Being able to identify when we’ve erred is important; taking the time to actually ponder the pros and cons of decision is also important. But in the end, you’ll have to decide what is best.

For Thomas that decision came when Jesus presented his arms and side. What will the deciding point be for you?

Continue Reading

Of Forgiveness and the Holy Spirit

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:21-23

In these three verses there is so much to unpack. The Disciples were were overjoyed at seeing Jesus, so Jesus blessed them with peace, the peace of the Holy Spirit.

Earlier in this book Jesus promised them the Holy Spirit and now he’s imparting the Holy Spirit to them. Verse 23 is intriguing because it seems out of place. They Holy Spirit will help them to forgive; otherwise it would be a very difficult task. Somehow they will have to forgive Judas, and ultimately they’ll have to forgive themselves. Remember, before Jesus hung on the cross that dark afternoon, most of his disciples had scattered and betrayed Him or they flat out denied Him. You better believe they were thinking about those incidents when He appeared to them!

What I mean by “they had to forgive themselves” is that they’d have to stop beating themselves up over their denials and betrayals. It was over; the damage was done, and Jesus still forgave them. What more did they need? Wth that same forgiveness in mind, they’d have to forgive the wrongs that others would commit against them. And from what we know about early Church history, they’d definitely have their work cut out for them.

Unfortunately I think that many of us hold onto our past grievances much longer than is needed. Even though we know that God forgives us and cleanses us when we come to Him, we still can’t erase it from our memory banks. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to help us break the cycle of us not letting go of our sins, and for us to forgive others.

Continue Reading

Peace Be With You

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. John 20:19-20

A few hours after Mary told the disciples about seeing Jesus alive, the disciples were gathered – and shaking in their boots. Their Savior had just overcame death and was walking the Earth again, and they were afraid. Did they think that the leaders suspected them of “grave robbing?” Perhaps. We can only speculate, but we do know they were afraid.

So, what did Jesus do? He calmed them down: Peace be with you.

Today in the midst of your fears and struggles, Jesus Christ says it again, “peace be with you.” Having the Prince of Peace tell you “peace be with you” is certainly a good start to restoring the peace you once had.

Peace be with you today.

Continue Reading

Of Crackpots and Fruitcakes

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. John 20:18

Mary had the best news you could ever hear: I have seen the Lord. Peter and John hadn’t seen Him. None of the other disciples had seen Him. They only had Mary’s word to go on. Were they joyous or upset at Mary bringing them he news…again? We don’t know but as we’ll see tomorrow, they were a frightened bunch despite the great news.

Sometimes the Lord gives us something that shouldn’t be shared with others. Even though Jesus had told Mary to tell the Disciples that she had seen Him, I’m not sure they were convinced she saw Him. On the face of it, the story was quite fantastical. The only other incident that they could relate to was Lazarus.

I suppose their reaction would be similar to those who tell us they’ve seen the Lord. “Right, another fruitcake.” And yet, shouldn’t that be the norm? I’m not saying we should seek Him until He reveals himself, then tell the whole world we just saw Jesus. Crackpot. Instead, we have to be very careful who or why we say that if we ever encounter the Lord in such a way. Why? While your motives are good, people who are not receptive to hearing it will write you off. And who could blame them?

Sometimes, though, what’s between you and the Lord should stay that way unless you are called and committed to sharing and living by what you say.

Continue Reading
Close Menu