This worship service premiered on YouTube at 10:30 a.m., Sunday, April 19, 2020, and remains available on-demand here. A transcript of the service is provided below.
Scripture Reading: John 20:19-31
20:19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
20:20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
20:22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
20:24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
20:25 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.”
20:26 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.”
20:27 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.”
20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
20:29 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.”
20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.
20:31 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.
Message by Guest Pastor Carmel Day:
The thing is that Thomas was being reasonable.
Thomas had not been a bad Disciple. He had even at one point said he was willing to die with Jesus. Then Jesus was taken, given over to merciless people, beaten, tortured, and then crucified.
For three days they knew that Jesus was dead and buried.
For three days they must have wept and grieved.
For three days they must have been afraid the authorities would come for them as well.
Then Jesus appeared in the place they were hiding. Jesus showed the Disciples His wounds, and their joy must have been very great. The teacher, the leader, the Messiah was back!
But Thomas was not there.
Thomas did not see Jesus.
Thomas had been grieving and when he spoke with the other Disciples, it must have seemed that they had all gone crazy.
And so Thomas said, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my hand in his side, I will not believe.” Thomas had been through too much to believe his friends. When Jesus appeared again. And Jesus showed Thomas his wounds, and Thomas shouted “My Lord and my God”.
Then Jesus said something that applies to us, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
And what is this blessing we shall receive?
It is life. A real life both inside and out. Both above and below.
Both the life in heaven with the angels, but also a life well lived on Earth.
Never has that been more easy to see then right now in the middle of the Coronavirus.
It is perfectly reasonable right now to feel weighed down by fear. At least once a week this spring I have had a day where I felt like I didn’t even want to get out of bed. I think everyone has felt this way at some point. But I look around and I see people making masks. Four days a week there are people at the food pantry risking themselves by being around others. They are being sensible of course and wearing masks, but that does not eliminate all risk. There are people who go to work at doctors’ offices and hospitals.
Even in times of fear people go out and are brave. Some of them because they have to, but others because they believe in something. And belief makes you alive inside.
In Thomas’ case, he came to believe something very specific. He came to believe that Jesus could overcome death itself. He began to believe not just that Jesus was a good man and a healer, but that Jesus was the Son of God.
This belief would carry Thomas out of the house where the Disciples had been hiding and out into the world. Thomas would travel preaching the Gospel, talking about Jesus and some people believe Thomas went really far before the Lord called him home. There are ancient Christian churches in India that claim to have been founded by Thomas, which is twice the size of the journey that the Wise Men took.
Your beliefs and your doubts can control you actions. Thomas was perfectly reasonable to doubt, but doubt can rob you of life. It can rob you of friends, joy, and of living a life worth living.
It’s OK to have doubts but don’t let your doubts make you dead inside. Instead choose to live like Jesus, knowing there may be pain and hardship, but that is what may be needed to save others.
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Additional Credits & Thankyous:
Thank you to Pastor Carmel Day for filling in for Rev. Val this week. Her willingness to tackle the brave new world of worship video production is greatly appreciated.
The hymns in today’s video are courtesy of Nathan Drake at reawakenhymns.com and are used by permission.