Tuesday, April 7, 2015

He Showed Them His Hands

April 20

(Luke 24:36-40, 45-48 NIV)  "While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." {37} They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. {38} He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? {39} Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." {40} When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. … {45} Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. {46} He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, {47} and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. {48} You are witnesses of these things."

(John 20:19-20, 24-29 NIV)  "On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" {20} After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord… {24} "Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. {25} So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "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." {26} A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" {27} Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." {28} Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" {29} Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

After the crucifixion and death of Jesus, the disciples were fearful and in disarray. Then came the resurrection. Almost immediately we see the risen Jesus moving to help his disciples regain their courage and faith. He came and stood among them and did several things.

First, he showed them his hands and feet. They saw the holes caused by the spikes driven through his hands and feet into the cross. The wound from the soldier’s spear was still in his side. It was definitely an eye opener for them and it verified that this was indeed their Jesus… literally back from the dead.  

Second, he opened their minds so they could understand the scriptures. He breathed the Holy Spirit into them. Before this time the simplest parable seemed to stump the disciples. After this, they became teachers and evangelists.

Before Jesus opened their minds the disciples could not figure out why the Messiah would have to die. After this time they understood the gospel and became preachers for the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Third, he changed their hearts. Wavering hearts became committed hearts. Despairing hearts became joyful hearts. Doubting hearts became believing hearts. Frightened disciples soon became fearless apostles. Expressions of fear became statements of faith: "We have seen the Lord!"  General faith in God became personal faith in Jesus Christ. Thomas proclaims: "MY Lord and MY God."

Fourth, Jesus called them to be witnesses. He hadn’t suffered the cross and risen from the dead so he could be the only spokesman for the Gospel. He called the disciples to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Fifth, he called them to deeper faith. He told Thomas, “Change your heart. Stop doubting and believe.” At that point, Thomas had a choice to make, and so do we.

Jesus Christ is risen! We too are called to a deeper faith and to be His witnesses. Stand up and step out for Jesus in the weeks and months to come. He rose so you could shine.    

 

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