The Resurrection of Jesus (B)
The evening of Easter Day
After Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, the disciples went into hiding because they were afraid that the Jewish rulers would do the same to them if they could lay their hands on them.
The disciples see Jesus again
The evening of Easter Day found them gathered together in the Upper Room in Jerusalem with the door securely bolted. While they were talking together Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you” (NRSV, John 20:19). At first they were terrified and thought that he was a ghost. Then, to convince them that he was no ghost, he showed them his hands and feet and side. “…a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have”, he said (NRSV, Luke 24:39). The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the marks made by the nails and the soldier’s spear because they knew it was Jesus. But although they could see Jesus standing there with them, they still found this wonderful fact difficult to believe. Jesus knew it was difficult for them to grasp so he helped them by asking if they had anything to eat. And they gave him a piece of cooked fish which he ate there and then as they watched him (Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19,20).
When they had got over the shock of seeing him, Jesus spoke to them again. He had come into this world and had died on the Cross in order that we might have the opportunity of being forgiven, and so now that he was risen from the dead he lost no time in giving the Apostles the power to forgive sins in his name. First he gave them his own authority to act on his behalf, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you”. This is what is called their Apostolic Commission. Then he breathed on them and said, “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” (NRSV, John 20:21-23).
After Jesus had spent the evening talking with his Apostles, he disappeared from their sight.
The Sunday after Easter Day (Low Sunday)
On that Easter Sunday evening one of the disciples, named Thomas, was not there when Jesus came. On his return the rest of the disciples all cried together, “We have seen the Lord”. Poor Thomas couldn’t believe it. The whole thing seemed impossible. So all he said was, “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” (NRSV, John 25).
A week later, when Thomas and the other disciples were together in the same room, with the door shut as before, Jesus suddenly appeared again. He stood among them and said, “Peace be with you”. Then he turned to Thomas. “Put your finger here and see my hands”, he said. “Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe”. That was enough for Thomas. Looking at Jesus he just said, what all the disciples now knew to be the truth, “My Lord and my God!” (NRSV, John 20:26-28).