Manage episode 361108823 series 3023172
This is what Jesus said to the disciples.
Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
What a positive statement about those who believe in Jesus! You will do the works Jesus did and even greater works than what Jesus did. Doing what Jesus did was pretty big shoes to fill. And yet Jesus said we would do greater works than what he did.
When you read the gospels, you don't see a positive image about the disciples. You often encounter the incapability of Jesus' disciples. The image you get about the disciples is not the ones equipped with a powerful potential. The image you get is weak, self-centred, and unbelieving disciples. They simply didn't get what Jesus was telling them. I don't know why they followed Jesus.
You see that in today's passage too.
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 (John 20:19)
You see the disciples filled with fear. They were trembling in fear behind the locked door. This was right after Mary Magdalene told them that she had seen the Lord.
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, I have seen the Lord'; and she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20:18)
And yet, they didn't quite believe what Mary said to them. They were frozen with fear. They were timid, passive, and fearful. Even after hearing what Mary said
Thomas was not that different from other disciples. When Jesus appeared to the disciples, Thomas wasn't there unfortunately. They told Thomas that they saw the risen Lord.
We have seen the Lord. (John 20:25)
That was the exact words Mary used to tell the disciples and they didn't believe. Thomas did the same thing as the disciples did. He didn't believe. It wasn't that Thomas was asking for more than what the disciples experienced. He just wanted to see Jesus himself. So, the nickname, doubting Thomas is a kind of unfair statement for Thomas. But Thomas did the same thing as the disciples did. He didn't believe what his friends told him.
You see weak, blinded, and unbelieving disciples. Even though Jesus said many times while he was with them that he would be crucified and he would rise again from the dead. But nobody believed this mysterious and wonderful truth.
I send you
YET, JESUS BELIEVED IN THEM.
Jesus trusted them. Even though many times, Jesus was frustrated with them, he still believed them. Once he was so frustrated that he said this.
Jesus answered, You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.' (Matthew 17:17)
Jesus was quite frustrated with the disciples and yet he believed in them. It is one thing to be frustrated and another thing to give up on them. Jesus never gave up on them.
To unbelieving disciples, Jesus appeared and said this.
Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. (John 20:21)
As God sent Jesus to this world, now Jesus is sending them to do what Jesus did and more. Indeed, the disciples did greater things than what Jesus did. Jesus did wonderful miracles, supernatural healings, and taught unfathomable truths. And yet, his influence was limited in the Jewish land. He did three years of ministry basically within the boundary of the Jewish land. Judah, Galilee, and a few gentile places – that was about it. People could have been totally impressed by Jesus and that could be the end of it. They could easily forget what Jesus did and what he taught and the world could move on.
Who made Jesus so powerful and influential generation after generation? It was the disciples. They were the first ones who started this movement. They were not any special breed. They were like us. They were not super heroes. They were ordinary people like us.
But they were able to do unimaginable things. I believe that that is the power of resurrection. The power of resurrection did not end in raising Jesus from the dead. It spread. It spread to revive everything it touches.
The power of resurrection brings dead things come alive. It brings light to the darkness. It brings alive the dead spirit within us.
Through the Spirit
This is what Jesus did when he appeared to the disciples 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.' (John 20:21, 22)
Jesus gave them the Holy Spirit. Now through the Spirit, the power of resurrection continued. It is not about seeing the evidence of the body of the risen Jesus any more. Yes, the first disciples had to do that. But not anymore.
Even for Thomas, he didn't have to. He demanded the physical evidence of the risen Jesus.
This was what he said.
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. (John 20:25)
Thomas heard his friends saying, We have seen the Lord. And yet, that was not enough for him. He had to see the evidence.
So Jesus came and showed him as he showed him to other disciples.
Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. (John 20:27)
Then Jesus said,
Do not doubt but believe. (John 20:27)
Thomas did not even have to put his finger in the nailed hands. Right after hearing Do not doubt but believe , he said simply,
My Lord and my God! (John 20:28)
Even though Thomas demanded physical evidence of the resurrection, he didn't have to have it. What Jesus said was enough. Do not doubt but believe. The power of resurrection worked through the Spirit. This is the turning point. No more people will believe in the resurrection by seeing the risen Lord but by the powerful witnesses of those who have seen the Lord.
We don't have the privilege any more to see the physical evidence of the risen Jesus. Jesus would not appear again and again to show physical evidence. What is important is not the physical evidence. What is important is the power of resurrection that works through the witnesses of the believers.
This was what Jesus said.
Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe. (John 20:29)
That statement was like a prophecy. That was what happened. When the disciples witnessed Jesus to people, they believed. The power of resurrection worked through their witnesses.
We have no choice but to depend on the first witnesses. But somehow their witnesses were powerful enough to turn people around. That is the power of resurrection.
We just finished the study of four gospels. Each gospel was the witness of the writer. The power of resurrection worked through their witnesses.
Once you receive the power of resurrection, you will do greater works than what Jesus did. You will come alive. You will overcome challenges you face. You will defeat the darkness and bring the light.
This is the authority Jesus gave to the disciples.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. (John 20:23)
You are given the authority to forgive the sins of others. As Jesus forgave your sins, go and forgive the sins of others. Free them from their bondage. Don't hold grudge against them. With the big heart, embrace them.
That was the only thing the risen Jesus told them to do. He died on the cross to forgive us. Forgiveness is that hard. But that is what we must do. We can do that through the power of resurrection.