I hear much today about the troubled times in which we live. News reports, images, globally and nationally, one can pick their story of choice. Politics? Hurricanes? National Anthem protests? Cell phones exploding! Goodness, what next! Seriously though, these are troubled times.
As I near the end of John’s gospel, I come across the climactic scene amidst troubled times. The grief stricken Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb only to have her heart ripped out one more time! Someone’s taken her Lord’s body! As if it wasn’t bad enough to have Him beaten and killed, now His body is stolen! Or at least, so she thinks. When she returned to the disciples to report the missing body, I notice that she didn’t believe. She wasn’t expecting a resurrection; not after the horrible events on Friday! Yet, God has a way of working His power and peace in the midst of our darkness.
I like how John writes about himself in such a way that is humble . . . or, is he poking a little fun at Peter. The statements John makes, the details he includes, makes me wonder, did John like Peter? John records how he outran Peter. John seems to respect the tomb and doesn’t go in while Peter just rushes on in. John also records how he “saw and believed” (v. 8) yet mentions how the disciples still didn’t believe. Belief doesn’t happen until Jesus appears to them later that evening. But before then, Mary gets a personal encounter with Jesus near the tomb. She thinks He is the gardener. When did she realize the man to whom she spoke was the Messiah instead? When Jesus said her name! “Mary!” That’s all it took. Jesus saying her name and she believed. Oh, how I yearn to one day hear my savior say my name.
Like Mary, the disciples didn’t believe until they saw with their own eyes. (v. 19) This is what it took. A real life, in person appearance. Not only does He appear, Jesus says, “Peace be with you.” Interesting…Jesus says this twice to them. He knew they needed it…they really needed it. Perhaps the disciples were not only afraid of the Jews, perhaps a little afraid of Jesus too due to their abandonment of Him late Thursday night and early Friday. Instead of judgement and scolding, Jesus has compassion. He breathes on them, gives them the Holy Spirit and speaks about the forgiveness of sins (a few aspects of the commissioning of the apostles). Of course, Thomas wasn’t there. Thomas gets a bad rap these days as people often see him as the Doubting Thomas. But the reality is, all the disciples were guilty of doubting before they saw Jesus with their own eyes. I need Christ, the Resurrected One, whom I haven’t seen with my own eyes, to bring Peace to my life, to family, to my nation, to the world.
PRAYER: Jesus, You are the Prince of Peace. I humbly ask You to bring the peace that passes all understanding to my heart and to the hearts of others who, by Your grace, believe but haven’t seen with our own eyes. Amen.