Gospel: John 20:19-31
Epistle: 1 Peter 1:3-9
Lesson: Acts 5:29-42
Psalm: Psalm 148
CLB Commentary – Rev. Dale Hanson
That first Easter Sunday had been a bewildering day for the disciples as they met, minus Judas and Thomas, that evening. They were both confused and so fearful they locked themselves in the room for their own safety. Afraid they would be arrested for supporting Jesus. Then, Jesus stood among them . . . after his resurrection; Jesus more fully revealed his divine attributes. While still human, he did not allow physical barriers to keep him from revealing himself. They did not see him enter the room, but he appeared and stood among them like he had already been there but hidden and now he revealed himself.
His first words to these troubled disciples was, “Peace be with you!” These were the first words they heard from Jesus after his resurrection. Then, he showed them his hands and his side. Proving beyond any doubt that he was the same person who had been crucified and had died just days before. Now the disciples were overwhelmed with joy. He then called them into service and equipped them by breathing on them his Spirit. Consider that he gave them his very breath, his Spirit, and told them to go bear witness to the truth, to preach the word of salvation, to give people the message of forgiveness. This is the same word and call he has given to the church . . . to preach and teach the word of forgiveness. What a privilege, what a responsibility! Are we faithfully proclaiming that message today? The word “breathed on” is a Greek term used only here in all the New Testament. He literally gave them the Spirit of God which came from him.
In verse 23 they and the entire church are given a powerful and awesome office . . . that of granting forgiveness or withholding it. We grant it by preaching the gospel and it is withheld from those who will not listen to the gospel or reject the message of forgiveness while seeking to earn it some other way.
The text turns its attention now to one of the disciples who was missing: Thomas. I am thankful for Thomas. He was so discouraged that he would not quickly believe or accept what the disciples reported. Notice that he declared that he would never believe unless he could actually see and touch the marks of the nails and put his hand in his side.
A week later Jesus appeared again; this time Thomas was with them. Thomas’ doubt was not the kind of doubt that kept him from Jesus but that drew him to come and see. Jesus spoke directly to Thomas inviting him to see and touch. He graciously accommodated Thomas’s request. After Thomas saw and touched he proclaimed one of the most profound and central Christological affirmations in the Gospel of John. No doubt now; total faith and confidence.
The final verses of our text state the purpose and summarize the central message of the Gospel. People commonly and mistakenly think that biblical books were written mainly to provide rules for godly living. Speaking through John, God announces the Good News that Jesus is His Son and that by faith in him, we have life and salvation—this is the core message of the entire Scripture.
Help us, dear God, to gladly and boldly share this message of Good News; that others might believe and live.
Reference: The Lutheran Study Bible