The Res. Community Part 2: Preparation for Sunday (John 20:24-31)

Good afternoon Everyone,

I hope your Wednesday is treating you well. I’m enjoying a freshly roasted cup of coffee (I roasted some beans on my lunch hour!) and doing some preparation for Sunday morning.

For the next few weeks we are going to focus in on Jesus’ final appearances in the Gospel of John and what we can learn about what he intended the "resurrection community" to look like in these early, tender days of the church. A couple questions that come to mind: So in following these stories what is the Easter or resurrection community to be like? If we look closely at what happens to the disciples and Jesus after the resurrection, in these early stages of development, what can we learn about the shape and the practice of the newly born “church” or res. community?

For this Sunday we’re going to look at one of my favorite Bible characters Thomas. Last year I preached about him and if you’re interested in reading that sermon can you see it on my blog. In that sermon, I tried to give a sympathetic reading of Thomas. This Sunday, let’s look at what else we might be challenged by from this story.

From John 20:24–31 (NRSV)

“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.

Queries:

  • What catches your attention about this passage? What questions and challenges are raised?
  • Is there anything in Thomas’ experience that you relate to?
  • What might this story teach us about what it means to be the "resurrection community?"