Saturday, March 29, 2008

Easter 2

Easter 2
March 30, 2008

John 20:19-31
“I demand evidence!”

Almighty God, grant that we, who have celebrated the Lord’s resurrection, may by Your grace confess in our life and conversation that Jesus is Lord and God; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Introduction: We have just celebrated the feast of the Resurrection. We rejoice with the Easter greeting, “He is risen! He is risen indeed, Hallelujah!” And yet for some, the resurrection is almost too difficult to believe. We’ve heard the critic’s charges before, “Virgins do not conceive and dead men do not rise!” How do we respond to such criticisms? To help us stand up to such criticism we have Thomas to thank. Thomas is Easter’s version of Ebenezer. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” Consider Thomas’ demand for evidence.

“I too must be a witness”

The claim of Jesus’ resurrection alone isn’t enough.

It defies logic. By themselves the claims are idle words. In the words of our youth, “that’s bogus!”

Without the eye-witness testimony of the appearance of Jesus visibly from the dead the resurrection remains only a myth. Talk is cheap. Only a visitation of the resurrected Lord could convince Thomas.

Without Jesus’ appearance to Thomas personally He would not be considered a legitimate apostle. “Why Thomas?” some could argue. “Why was he not granted such an audience with the risen Christ?”

Could we really believe his word? Would we trust Thomas if he were to say, “I’ve never seen Jesus alive from the dead, others have, but not me.” We can almost hear that critical, cynical, response. “Ya, Right!”

Transition: Thomas needs to be a witness. He must examine the evidence with his own eyes.

II. “I must see His marks.”

There are plenty of false Christs in our world today. Each is a creation of man’s own wild imagination and dream. These false Christs are not the Jesus of the Bible.

Upon seeing Jesus’ hands, feet, and side Thomas became convinced of the resurrection.

Illustration: Have you any scars on your body? They tell a story. A hand that went through a storm door, a shine that got scrapped reminds us of past events. Jesus’ scars tell the story of redemption.

Thomas could now know that the same Jesus who suffered and died is the same Jesus who rose from the dead. He could see the scars. The scars on Jesus’ body which Thomas saw with his own eyes are comforting for you. This guarantees complete redemption! His wounds guarantee that He suffered for you, that He took your sins to His own body. His resurrection guarantees that your sins, though they are many, are gone. The resurrection proves that forgiveness is granted. The resurrection assures us that eternal life is your destiny and reality.

Transition: Thomas needs to be a witness. He must examine the evidence with his own eyes. Hearing his testimony these words are joy and bliss for you.

III. These words are for you.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;”

Seeing is believing. This was necessary for the 1st Century disciples and believers.If they saw Him dead they would have to see Him alive visibly.

So convinced where they that each disciple, that with the exception of John, each would die for only one claim; “we have seen the Christ and we are witnesses of these things!”

“…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We don’t have the “advantage” of being 1st Century eye-witnesses.

We therefore place our trust in the evidence provided in Sacred Scripture by those who were eye-witnesses of these events.

This is why Jesus walked the earth for 40 days after the resurrection.
40 is the number for completion –
40 days/nights it rained at the time of Noah
40 years the Israelites were in the desert
40 years David reigned as King over Israel

The appearance of Jesus alive visibly for a period of 40 days is enough for you to trust in Him.

Conclusion: John begins His Gospel with Jesus first miracle. Changing water into wine was the first of Jesus’ miraculous signs which Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. John remarks that Jesus performed these miracles “so that His disciple put their faith in Him.” {John 2} Notice how John concludes His gospel, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” {John 20:30-31}

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