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Easter 2



I, like perhaps many of you, have grown up hearing the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection appearances. I had the privilege of being taken to church as a youngster and so the narrative of the Bible has been part of forming me from my earliest days. Some of my earliest memories of church I realise now are from the Easter season. On Good Friday we always had a walk of witness. We started at one of the churches and then carried a large cross to outside Sainsburys. My memory is of how important it felt to carry the help carry the cross, how heavy it was and how I was somehow playing a part in something that mattered. In truth I was probably not really helping at all when I was little, and probably actually making it more difficult for the adults, but they let me help! The second memory is of later that day when at the end of a quiet service we would leave the church in silence, with just one candle burning and would finish the service by slamming the large wooden door closed. The sound would echo across the car park. The other really clear memory was of Easter morning. We would arrive at church and rather than the darkness and emptiness of the church it would be full of colour, light, flowers and we would always say and sing ‘Hallelujah’ a lot! The reason for telling you this is that I’m aware that I grew up with a familiarity to the narrative of the Easter events.

This familiarity extends to the resurrection appearances. Our gospel reading today from the second half of John chapter 20 begins where last Sunday’s left off. It begins ‘when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week.’ It’s the very next day and the disciples are huddled together with the door locked because they were afraid, understandably so. Many of us are so used to what happened next it’s easy to miss how utterly unexpected it was for the disciples. They could not possibly have anticipated what would happen next. Yes, Jesus had told them that he would be raised up, but in truth none of them would have really comprehended how this was going to happen. I can’t imagine how scared they must have been. Jesus had been brutally executed, his life had ended and perhaps their hopes too.

But at this moment, Jesus came and ‘stood among them and said ‘Peace be with you.’ It’s incredible. On a recent school visit when one of the younger children heard this part of the story for the first time he reacted with a loud ‘Woooow!’ His reaction summed up so much and reminded me of quite how incredible it was. Jesus came to his disciples, spoke peace and showed them that it was indeed him. ‘The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.’ I’m sure this phrase doesn’t even begin to sum up the mixture of emotions, the depth of reaction, the joy in that room.

Many millions of people since that day have experienced the presence and peace of Jesus, by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit being the same that raised Christ from the dead and the same that Jesus told them to receive as he breathed on them in this moment. A few years ago a guy who had not grown up around church at all came to faith in Jesus and described it as ‘now seeing the world in HD.’

The second part of the gospel passage focusses on Thomas. He wasn’t with them when Jesus first appeared to them, but they told him that they had seen the Lord. For those who have come to faith in Christ one of our key calls is to be witnesses, those who tell others what they have seen and come to know of God. I really respect Thomas’ reaction and I think it is how I may have reacted too. He wanted to see, he wanted to know, he wanted to experience what the others had. And what is incredible is that Jesus comes to them again, when Thomas was there, speaks words of peace and invites Thomas to reach out his hand with the words ‘Do not doubt but believe.’ God’s interactions with us are deeply personal. God knows us, even better than we know ourselves and wants us to have the chance to believe.

I love hearing people’s stories of faith. There are always lots of similarities, in the same way that there are lots of similarities as different people meet Jesus in the scriptures, but the stories have lots of aspects that are unique. Every story valid, beautiful and moving. Even those who consider their faith story to be ordinary or unremarkable are anything but.

‘My Lord and My God,’ Thomas exclaims. We are not able to place our hands in Jesus’ side or feel his hands, but by the Holy Spirit and through faith, we can know the same certainty of Jesus’ presence with us.

My prayer this Easter season is that we will be struck again by the wonder of the resurrection. That with that young lad who heard this story for the first time, with fresh eyes or ears, we will say ‘wow.’ Wow at the wonder of a God who so loved the world that he sent his only Son and the wonder that whoever believes in him will not die but have eternal life. Wow at the incredible truth that Jesus rose again, appeared to his disciples, before ascending to heaven and that the Holy Spirit is with us. Wow that God knows us all so personally and wants to meet with us such that we can confidently say ‘My Lord and My God.’ And perhaps even a ‘wow’ that God sends us as his witnesses to tell people what we know about our God so that they too may know God’s peace and presence.


You may want to take time to think through or talk to each other about your own faith journey or perhaps remind yourself of the journey of other Christians through history.

What does it mean to you to know we can say that Jesus is our Lord and our God?

If you have not come to a place of being able to say that for yourself, perhaps just like Thomas you could express what you long to know or see in order to have that confidence. Perhaps take a moment to pray, to simply talk to God about your hopes or doubts.

Page last updated: Wednesday 5th April 2023 9:03 AM
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