Resource Scripture Passage: John 20:19-29
Fear marked the gathering. Not everyone made to it the assembly point. They were meeting in the doorway’s shadow to death. Thus, they barred the door (John 20:19). They were keeping a wise social distance. Not because of a virus, though they were each infectious—tainted by the presence of the man from Nazareth.
Everyone was present—one exception. To this very day no knows why he was not with them. Perhaps his soul’s strength had been so compromised he could not withstand more deathly reminders. Fear stalked his apostolic heart seeking like a roaring lion to devour him with spiritual destruction. Did anyone think the group should move ahead; after all, how important can it be that just one person is missing (Matthew 18:12-14)?
A few days earlier (it seemed like hours) Jesus had been crucified in the public arena on the hill called Golgotha (John 19:18). Suspended between sky and earth the Son of Man, Jesus their friend and Savior, was taken. Death is nothing, if not gone. Completely gone. Now, comes the Spirit, even as Jesus is absent and brings new, apostolic authority (John 20:22-23).
While a virus might take your life eventually, arrest and persecution by skilled politicians could get you crucified—literally, nailed to a cross at the public square. It appears the close follower and friend of Jesus, Thomas the missing-one, knew this fear.
Our brother John carefully sets the pixels of description into place (John 20:19-29). Please read them now if you have not already done so.
Previously, in foreshadowing words, Thomas he Didymus the so-called twin, had valiantly committed himself to Jesus with these words: “Let us also go, that we may die with him”(John 11:16). Not a dribble of doubt—Thomas sounds pessimistic but not fearful. He is meticulously committed to Jesus as the Anointed One.
At the time Thomas spoke those words of commitment and belief Jesus was announcing his intention to travel into Judea (John 11). After Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion he is missing from the group. Thomas in emotional pain, or sick with a virus, is not meeting with the other close followers. Not one of the Gospel writers provide an explanation for his absence.
Then, there comes a time when Thomas returns for a meeting with the group. At that very occasion, without warning Jesus, fully aware of panic, pain and consuming fear appears and says “Peace be with you.”
Will Jesus search out just one person? Surely not just Thomas? Or, might Jesus have come just because of Thomas? Again, the Gospel accounts document the compelling, the consuming, the true and thorough desire of Jesus to show mercy and grace to those in need. Why, that would be me.
- Do you believe Jesus would come just for you?
- What helps you believe in Jesus without seeing the wounded side or the nail pierced hands?