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, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them 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. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "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."
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
My engagement with the text:
I noticed that Jesus arrived among the disciples apparently unhindered by the locked door. He spoke to the disciples, “Peace be with you,” and they didn’t recognize his voice. Only after Jesus showed them his wounds did they believe it was him. The exact same sequence of events happened the following Sunday with Thomas. Again Jesus arrived, despite the shut doors, stood among the disciples and spoke. But Thomas did not believe it was Jesus until he touched Jesus’ wounds.
I was both attracted to and wanted to skip over the words, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” It seems like a big deal to have the power to forgive or not forgive. And even when I want to be forgiving sometimes I’m not. I realize that when I am not forgiving I am bound by it, the sting of the sin or hurt remains in me. I am not free and I am not peaceful.
The response that rises up in me is, Lord, I want your peace. Please help me to be forgiving so that your peace will be with me. Amen
After pausing and being still for a few minutes I felt peaceful. A bit later it occurred to me that when I am at peace in my self and with my self I can be at peace with others and the world. Even my desire to be forgiving opens me to peace that I can bring into the world. Debra