John 20, starting from verse 19. On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders. Jesus came and stood among them and said, peace be with you. After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again, Dieter said, peace be with you. As the father has sent me, I am sending you And with that, he breathed on them and said, receive the holy spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, Their sins are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. Now, Thomas, also known as Didamus, 1 of the 12 was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
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. 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, Then he said to Thomas, put your finger here, see my hands, reach out your hand and put it on put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe. Thomas said to him, my Lord and my God, then Jesus told him because you have seen me, you have believed.
Bless are those who have not seen and yet have believed. Jesus performed many other 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 Messiah, the son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. Thanks, Susan. And good evening from me.
My name is Rory Knares. I'm 1 of the elders of the church I'm 1 of the members of staff here as well. I'm actually I'm the elder over the youth. So I have been away this weekend, hence why a slightly gruff voice and slightly bleary eye to apologize to write those off during this sermon. Please don't do the same.
We're coming now to our penultimate sermon in John. Sad to say, but we need God's help to understand this. So let's pray and then we'll get stuck in. Father. We we thank you so much for your words.
We thank you that you have given it to us. So that we may know you. And we thank you that in your in your word you reveal towards the lord Jesus Christ. And so we pray father that you will give us eyes that see Christ and how glorious he is. Help us not to be distracted, but help us to lift our eyes and our hearts and the Lord Jesus so that we may see great truths about him.
In Jesus 9. Amen. And now I imagine many of us and probably all of us are familiar with certain phrases like seeing is believing. Right? Or listen.
To if I'm gonna believe this, I need to see it or you need to see it to believe it. You you needed to be there to you you if if you wanna believe this, you needed to You need to see it. In other words, we need evidence and we need to see the actual thing for us to believe that something happened. Now I'm a history history teacher part time as many of you know, and I often get the question for my students Look, how do we know that this happened? I wasn't there.
And it's it's actually quite frustrating because they're annoyingly just annoying. Annoyingly annoying. Yeah. They're thick as well and they don't know it. How do we know?
Well, because someone saw it for us to believe it. So seeing is believing to believe I must see. Now, we left this story last week and we we looked last week at the cry of Jesus in in John chapter 19 and verse 30. It is finished. In other words, it is finished that I have paid the price for sin.
And that people can know forgiveness and redemption and be right with God again. And we saw the proof of that. We saw the proof of that throughout John 19 and 20. The proof that Jesus really did die. He didn't just faint.
He died. That he was buried. That the 2 didn't stay full. It was bodyless. The body rose and then Jesus appeared to marry Magdalena in the garden and we leave that seen with Mary Madeline going to the disciples and saying, I have seen the Lord verse 18.
But it seems as we come to this story that that isn't enough for the disciples. They need more than just hair witness. And actually, we too need more than just hair witness if we're gonna believe. We need more than just her witness for the spread of the gospel. And actually for us to believe we need to see.
We need seeing for us to believe. Okay? And that's what I think this story is gonna show us. Here in John. So here's my first point.
Seeing is believing. Seeing is believing in verse 19 to 23. And as we look at seeing is believing, we'll see that fear turns to joy. We pick up the story in verse 19. And you'll see that we come that very evening of the resurrection Sunday.
So Jesus has rose from the dead. He's appeared to marry Magdalen And that very evening, we come to a scene with the disciples altogether. Now, This is not a a joyful get together right now. You might have noticed that. This is not the disciples coming together to discuss a strategy meeting about what to do next.
This is a a very strange scene that shot in a room. Did you see that? The doors are locked. Why are the doors locked? Well, the doors are locked for fear of the Jewish leaders.
See, they're in hiding now. See, it was okay when Jesus was alive. They they could have conquered the whole world when Jesus was alive in their opinion. The Jewish leaders didn't scare them when they had Jesus with them, but now they think that Jesus has gone They're scared. They've they've killed Jesus.
Now what's next for us? They've killed Jesus, will they come and get us? And you can almost hear, can't you? There's scared, hush tones. What do we do next?
We we need an escape plan. We need to get out of here. We need the disguise. There's fear. They're worried of the repercussions.
And then suddenly, Jesus is there. It's I mean, I I think we could easily just read this and and get lots of Jesus is there. Suddenly, what? Now don't don't forget where the disciples are. They're in a room, but not just in a room, they're in a room, with locked doors, and then Jesus is there.
And so you think, oh, well, they were scared before, they had fear for, they're probably terrified at this moment. They were worried on. There's a What? They probably think Jesus is a ghost at this point. They're thinking what the dickens is going on here.
You all meant to be dead. And Jesus, you'll see, pronounces the first of 3, the first time of 3 peace be with you. Peace be with you. Why can he say that? Well, look at verse 20.
After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. In other words, Jesus is saying, look, I'm not a ghost. I'm not just a figment of your imagination. You're not just seeing things because you've gone crazy with grief. I'm actually a resurrected body.
Look, the hands or the wrists anyway, bear the wounds of the nails that were driven through. Look at my sides. Peers the hole in my side where blood and water flowed out. A resurrected body as a slightly different body. Right?
Because it can go through locked doors apparently. But in and before in chapter 20, it could go through grave clothes. So it's a slightly different body, but it is a resurrected physical body, and he stands there among his disciples. Peace be with you. Don't worry.
Don't let your heart be troubled. It's not a ghost. I am real. I am resurrected. I'm a body.
But not just that. Because peace be with you, because what is it that those wounds have achieved? What have they achieved those wounds? Well, those wounds have brought peace to Jesus' disciples. It's those very wounds.
As Jesus has hung upon a cross and had the judgment of god poured upon him that has meant that pit men and gods can have peace with gods. They can be at peace with 1 another. They can be reconciled with 1 another as the soul lot we're learning this weekend. We sing a Christmas song about it, isn't it in heart the herald angels sing? Man and God reconciled.
The wounds have given us peace with God. They have given peace with ourselves, Shalom. And they have given us peace with each other. And look what that peace does. Do you see what that peace does?
How did this scene start? It started with fear. See that? It was fear. It was anxiety.
There was worry. And look what happens now in verse 20. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. They were overjoyed. No longer any fear.
No longer any fear for these disciples, We don't have to fear men. We don't have to fear what other people think of us. We don't have to fear lots of relationship. We don't have to fear lots of loved ones. We don't have to fear anything in this world, no, we can be overjoyed.
We can be overjoyed because no longer do we live for the approval of men, but we are peace with God and we have approval in his eyes. There is joy in that. There is joy in knowing a savior who has risen from the dead and has con kids, their grave, and death. So we can have joy. But there's more than that.
It's not just joy here. Because Jesus gives the disciples a forgiveness mission. Look, he says it again in verse 21. Peace be with you. Peace be with you.
We should probably start saying that more, shouldn't we? Peace be peace be with you. Thank you. Petely with you. Verse 21 to 23.
As the father has sent me, I am sending you And with that, he breathed on them and said receive the holy spirit. If you forgive anyone's sins, their sins are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. Now, just a couple of things before we explore what that means. Now, Jesus when he's breathing on them and saying receive the holy spirit.
That is not the time that they're getting the holy spirit. We know that in acts 2, that is when the holy spirit comes upon the disciples, and they start to prophecy and proclaim the truths of Jesus. Now, this is a promise of the coming holy spirit. It's a bit like when Jesus says, my hour is upon me. The hour where he's gonna be crucified.
Well, this hour isn't right then, it's it's it's this time in which I'm going to the cross. That's the hour. Do you see? So it's it's it's it's saying the holy spirit is gonna come. I'm gonna go to the father and the spirit will come to you.
And then look at the message in verse 23. Now this is a message of forgiveness, but it is not the disciples that are forgiving people. It's not the disciples that have the power to say, look, you're forgiven of your sins. You're forgiven of your sins. You Don't like you.
You're not forgiven of your sins. That would be a bizarre interpretation of this. Now, it's linked to the spirit. What does the spirit allow the disciples to do. What if you remember in John 14 to 16, the spirit is the 1 who empowers the disciples to go and tell people the message of the lord Jesus Christ.
And so we have here the triun god. Did you notice that? We have father, son, and holy spirit. The father sent Jesus, Jesus, send the disciples. And in the power of the holy spirit, when Jesus sends the the holy spirit to the disciples, they preach a message of forgiveness.
That's what's going on here. The disciples are gonna go out and and with the joy in the heart, with the fear dispelled with the message of peace and with the message of forgiveness, they're gonna go and they're gonna take it to people. And if people accept it, they will find forgiveness. But if people reject it, there will be none. This is not a new work that the disciples are doing.
It's not like Well, thank you, Jesus, for doing your work. Now, I'm gonna do my own little pioneer work. Now, this is Thank you. Jesus for doing that work, we're gonna continue doing the same thing. So seeing is believing.
That's my first point. Second point, not seeing is not believing. It's very simple today because I'm very simple person. Not seeing is not believing. Look at with me at verse 24 to 25.
Now, Thomas, also known as Didimus, 1 of the 12 was not where the disciples when Jesus came. 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. I will not believe. So here we have Thomas brought into the story.
Now if you know about Tom Thomas actually isn't talked about in many of the other gospels. He's just sort of mentioned, but John seems to have a soft spot for Thomas. And if you know anything about Thomas, he's a bit of an e o character That's how I always describe Thomas. He's a bit of a So do you remember in in John chapter 11 when lazarus had died? He's like, Let's go and die with him.
That's Thomas for you. Well, Thomas is that kind of person. You'll remember these people in school. They always ask the really stupid questions. Yeah?
And and really, we were very thankful for the Thomas because we didn't get it either. Thank God for Thomas. Yeah? He asked the stupid questions. He's a bit of an e o character, and it turns out that Thomas hasn't been at that scene.
So actually, there's only 10 disciples that Jesus had appeared to in those those first, first, as we looked at. And as we're as we put Thomas into the scene, Thomas is gonna take the place of an unbeliever. He's taking the seat. As an unbeliever. Remember Jesus has said, I'm gonna send you the disciples go and they're gonna go and tell people about Jesus.
The first person they're gonna talk to, Thomas. He's gonna be the unbelievable. And you can imagine the scene. Right? When the disciples, they've seen the law, they, you know, they probably all, you know, gone around in arms and jumped around, like, Yes.
He's alive. He's alive. He's alive. And they're like, oh, Thomas isn't here. We need to go and tell Thomas.
And so they're static with this news and like, I can't wait to tell Thomas, and maybe, you know, like before John and Peter racing to if you believe that they were racing, they're racing to Thomas to say who can tell Thomas first, and they get to Thomas, and they say, look, we have seen the Lord. And you think, well, Thomas, he's gonna be he's gonna be ecstatic too, isn't he? No. Not not apparently because he's he or No. No.
I don't believe it. See, they're testing, he's not good enough for Thomas. K? It's not good enough for them. Even though there's 10 people, 10 of his closest mate he spent 3 and a half years or whatever it is.
With these blokes, invested in their lives He's probably heard that the women have been saying that they've seen the Lord, yet he will not believe. That is not good enough for him. You may have been in in these situations at work. It's usually with an IT technician, I think. I don't know why.
They're very single minded. And you're thinking, okay, I've got a problem with my computer and they're like, no. No. I'm like, no. No.
There is an issue. No. That can't happen. No. There is a problem with my I've tried to no.
That's impossible. I said, come on. And and what do you need? Okay. You come here, look.
Oh, well, that shouldn't happen. That's what I said. They need to see it to believe it. They're ridiculous these people. A blight on the planet.
No. So Thomas refuses to believe He's absolutely refusing to believe because it does not fit in his worldview that dead people rise. Dead people do not rise from the dead. Cheese, we've seen the lord. Nope.
No. No. We've seen it. I know it's my wife. No.
Because he say, or isn't it? He said, I cannot believe this. If I'm gonna believe this, I need all of my senses filled. I need to Touch. Did you see his hands?
Whether whether nail marks were, I need to put my hand. I need to see. I need to put my hand in his side. I need to hear his voice. I need to smell him.
I need to hit. I need to have my senses filled with the risen Lord Jesus. I will not believe on your destiny alone. And that's what people are like. You come, you tell them about the Lord Jesus Christ, I will not believe Debt people do not rise from the dead.
People are even worse than Thomas, aren't they? And maybe you're maybe you're hearing or not believe I and you haven't engaged with this this evidence, and you're saying, I will not believe. That's what Thomas is like. Not seeing is not believing for Thomas. Thirdly, Seeing is believing.
Or is it? Seeing is believing. Or is it? I told you it was a simple sermon. I am a very simple human being.
Look with me at verse 26 to 29. 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, please be with you third time. 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.
Thomas said to him, my lord and my god. Then Jesus told him because you have seen me, you have believed. Bless you to those who have not seen and yet have believed. So we come to this scene. It's very similar to what we saw at the start.
Right? We get the disciples together. Again, they're behind lock doors. But what is different is that Thomas is present. And I I don't know.
Maybe this was a a scene of fresh extraction because they're still try they've been trying to convince Thomas for a week that Jesus is alive and he's not having any of it. Or maybe this is a scene of it expectancy. Okay. He he's not believing God's let's just pray that Jesus comes back again. I'm sure enough, just like the first time you'll see that Jesus appears and he's standing among them and he says the same greeting peace be with you.
Peace be with you. And then look at how he deals with Thomas. I don't know how you would deal with Thomas. You probably have an insight about how I would deal with Thomas because I called all IT technicians a blight on the planet. You you get pretty annoyed Thomas, you absolute retch.
My dad would probably call him a toe rag. It's a disgusting term. You I mean, these 10 people I sent them to tell you and you didn't believe them. Why not? But Jesus didn't like that.
He's like, because he because he actually understands us and he and he loves us and look how he deals with him in verse 27. Put your finger here. See my hands? Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Okay, Thomas.
You wanted the evidence. You wanted to touch, you wanted to feel go on then, satisfy your senses, and see the eye of a resurrected lord. And what does he say? Stop doubting and believe? And that is exactly what happens here.
Please be with you, doubt, turns to belief. Now it's interesting, isn't it? Because Jesus says, look, touch. Put your hand in there. We're gonna have a little that's just like little feel around.
Come on then. But actually, this scene doesn't record that he does it. He doesn't need to. He he sees his savior. He sees Jesus.
He sees the marks in his hands and the and the and the wound in his side, and that is enough for him. And so peace be with you. There is belief and look at what Thomas says. It's 1 of the most incredible sentences of this whole book. My lord.
My god. Wow. My lord and my god. In other words, okay, I believe now. It's the IT technician.
Oh, yeah. That's what that's what's gonna happen. They see now. My Lord and my God. Look, me and men don't just ride from the dead.
This can't just be an ordinary human being. This has to be god himself. Only god in the old testament is 1 who can defeat the grave. And Isaiah says, he swallows up death. This has to be God himself.
But it's not just that he is God, is it? It's my God. That is amazing there. My god. The wounds.
The the statement piece be with you. Pronounce that God is Thomas' God. My God, a relationship with God The the creator of the universe, I'm at peace with God now. No longer his enemy. He is my God.
My Lord. It sounds a bit like, what Jesus says to Mary in verse 17, isn't it? Go and say to my brothers and tell him, I am ascending to my father and your father to my god and your gods. This is the hope of the bible. That we can be friends with gods, that we can know them as our gods.
And so seeing, guess, believing, isn't it? He's seen, And he believes. He's seen. And he believes. But it's not the whole story, is it?
So your cc ing is believing verse 29, then Jesus told him because you have seen me you have believed, but then it goes on. Blessed of those who have not seen and yet have believed. Blessing of those who have not seen and yet have believed. See. There is a there is blessing.
There is happiness for the 1 who doesn't see the physical Jesus and yet still believes. Now, I think it would be an error to look at this. And say Thomas is being told off here or that Thomas's belief is less than ours. Now the 2 actually come together because it is essential, and this is what I was trying to say at the start. It is essential that the apostles and Thomas see the risen physical lord Jesus, that they see those wounds that paid the price for them, that they see the marks that make them write with God and and let them say my God because it shows us that this really happened.
And it means that we, and the people that cannot see. We can't see Jesus physically now. Can we? But as we look at the the words of scripture, People can see those wounds of grace. People can see that the lord Jesus has risen.
People can see the many blessings that are just in this little section that we've looked at. People can now hear his words, peace be with you. And we can we can understand that and people can see that until they see him face to face. We sing a song. Oh, to see you Jesus, I can hardly wait to behold those wounds of grace.
And to thank you face to face. So seeing is believing Or is it? Well, it's not the whole story. Because actually, as we read the words, that the apostles record we to believe until our eyes, until our faith is turned to sight. Fourthly then, do you believe do you believe But with me at verse 30 to 31, these 2 verses have been brought out time and time again as we've looked at John because this is the whole point of John.
And they were just wonderful. They're just a wonderful couple of verses. Look at them with me. Jesus performed many of the 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 Messiah, the son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.
It's a great start to this these 2 sentences is that Jesus performed many other signs that are not recorded in this book. And then if you compare that with the last verse of the bible, this is such a great verse, 21 verse, 25. Jesus did many other things as well. If every 1 of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. How good is that?
See John could have given us so much more evidence than what he gives us in this book. He could have given us countless and numbers of times that Jesus did a sign that said, he is god. We we actually am in routers. We've just finished a a series looking at 24 hours of Jesus' life. And if you just examine 1 24 hour period is like and he healed this man and he healed this person.
He spent a whole night healing and and and preaching the word and then he would get rid of demons and then he would go off somewhere else and get rid of more demons and then he would feed 5000 people and then he would get into it would get into a storm. It would calm the storm. And you just go time and time and time again. He decide after sign after sign whilst he's here. John has 3 years of just seeing this.
But even after that, What has he been doing for centuries later? In the lives of people as he converts and converts and converts and thousands and thousands and thousands of people have come to believe in the lord Jesus Christ. So there is even more evidence than what we're confronted with here in John. So why is he chosen the ones he has? Well, look at verse 31.
These are written that you may believe. These are written that you may believe. See, what is the point of this sermon? What is the point of this passage? What is the point of this book?
It's not just a nice intellectual exercise. It's not just that we can have to tell some nice stories about Jesus. Turning water into wine. This is so that you may believe. That you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, that Jesus is God's chosen king, that he is God's Savior who comes to save us from our sins that he is the very son of God.
You may believe that. And and as you believe on him, as you believe that he is who he says he is. That you may have life. Do you see that? By believing you may have life in his name.
It's amazing, actually. If you take those 2 themes of belief in life, I don't I guess you've all seen this as we've gone through John. They pop up time and time again. In fact, the first chapter of John, it says in him was life. As you go on, I'm not even gonna do it more here.
If you could talk to a Samaritan when he says, I have the water It's a water of life. He then goes on. He says, I am the bread of life. He then goes to lazarus, and he says, I am the resurrection and the life. And then he raises a dead man to life.
Okay? John 14, I am the way the truth. Oh, well, we're alive. And the life Yes. And then that that theme of believing comes throughout all the time.
And obviously we get the most famous verse that we probably all know is for god to love the world that he gave us 1 and only son that by what? What do we have to do? Believe in him, shall not die, but have eternal life. Yes. And that is what is on our for here by believing the evidence of the Lord Jesus Christ and him risen We see that he is Messiah.
We see that he is son of God. We see that by him, we may have life. And so if you believe in him, that is what is an offer for you. So will you believe? That's why John's writing this.
Will you believe? Will you believe? If you do, then you can know life, but not just life. Do you see all the blessings in this passage? No fear.
Anymore but joy. Knowing peace, knowing doubt being replaced with with belief, knowing blessing and happiness knowing him as your lord and your god and knowing a purposeful mission in this world as you bring peace and forgiveness to other people. That's what's on offer here. That's what's on offer here. And so if you are a bit of a Thomas, and you've never believed, then why not tonight?
Look at his wounds. Look at his resurrection and know the peace and the forgiveness and the joy and the life that is an offer here. Believe in him. Believe on him. And Christian, Today, you've been reminded of just how important the resurrection of the lord Jesus Christ is hopefully.
And hopefully, as you've looked at Jesus again, and as you've looked and you've seen his wounds, Maybe it casts out doubt for you again. Maybe it reminds you that you don't need to be fear you don't need to fear in this world, but you can have joy. There might be some of you here that have started to have fears about does this person love me still or or do I need to live for other people's approval? No, you don't. Get rid of that fear.
Know that you have utter assurance and security in the Lord Jesus and that you can say, my lord and my god. Once you get that in your head, Once you get your eyes fixed on Jesus and you see his wounds and you see the peace that he has to offer. Remember the privilege and the responsibility of taking this glorious message of forgiveness out to 1 believers. And as you go, pray that god will open their eyes to see Christ As I finish, let me just read 1 Peter, chapter 1 verse 8 to 9. Though you have not seen him You love him.
And even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an innate suppressable and glorious joy for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation, of your souls. Let's pray. Father, we thank you so much that you have shown the lord Jesus to be a resurrected savior. We thank you that in his physical body, he still bears the wounds of the cross. But we thank you that by looking at those wounds that we may know peace that we may know joy, that we may know blessing, that we may call you my god, And so far there, lift our eyes from this world, lift our eyes from the fears and the doubts of this world and put them on the Lord Jesus Christ where we have assurance and confidence.
And we pray father that we will be so overjoyed with the risen lord Jesus, that we will yearn to tell people of this glorious savior. Father we pray you open the eyes of unbelievers in this town, in this country, in this world, and let them see your wounds of grace. So that 1 day we will stand with them side by side as we look to you face to face. We pray that you help us with these things now in Jesus' name, amen.