My read through the New Testament brought me to the last two chapters of John this morning. These chapters contain several things that speak to me. In fact, I may have noted them before in my blog when I’ve read through the New Testament. I cannot say for sure.
In John chapter 20:
19 When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus therefore said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send 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, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (NASB)
Two things from this passage. First, when we fail to gather together with other believers, we often miss Jesus when He shows up. Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus came the first time, and no matter how well the other disciples tried to explain what it was like, he just couldn’t understand because he wasn’t there in person. Every time we skip church or our small group meeting, we risk the chance of missing out when Jesus shows up and does something wonderful in their midst. And second, Thomas gets a little of a bum rap as "the doubter". All of them doubted at first. None of them believed Jesus would rise from the dead.
26 And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.”
28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” (NASB)
Thomas was the first person recorded in the Bible to call Jesus "God." Maybe he did have to see Jesus in person to say it, but isn’t it wonderful that he recognized it. Jesus was not simply the King, not simply the Christ, not simply the Savior who took our sins to the cross. He was and is God, and Thomas recognized it.
From John chapter 21:
3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out, and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
5 Jesus therefore said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you will find a catch.” They cast therefore, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.
7 That disciple therefore whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” And so when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea. (NASB)
Two things from this passage: First, Jesus met these believers in the workplace. The disciples were fishermen by trade, and they did what fishermen do. They went fishing and Jesus met them where they work. He wants to be with us in our every day lives, including the hours we spend on the job. And second, as always, I love Peter’s enthusiasm. He threw himself into the sea so that he could reach Jesus as fast as he could. May my enthusiasm to reach Jesus always be as great!
21 Peter therefore seeing [the disciple whom Jesus loved] said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?”
22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” (NASB)
Jesus told Peter (and me), "Don’t look at what I’m doing with and in someone else’s life. All that concerns you is what I’m doing with and in your life. Look at me, not at others."
And that concludes all four of the gospels. Tomorrow we begin in Acts. And now I am off to write, asking God to give me the words and the scenes that I need to put on paper today. Lord, meet me in the workplace. Amen.
In the grip of His grace,