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Second Sunday of Easter

April 8, 2018 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Easter

Passage: John 20:19–20:31

†††In the Name of Jesus†††

Pastor Murray Keith
Text: John 20:19-31
Date: April 8th, 2018; Easter 2; Series B

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

  • In this morning’s Gospel lesson we heard about one of Jesus’ disciples who has become known as “Doubting Thomas”.

  • When Jesus said that he was going to prepare a place for them in his Father’s house, it was Thomas who asked, “Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  (John 14:5).

  • When the disciples came to Thomas with the news that they had seen Jesus risen from the dead, it was Thomas who said, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25). 

  • He said this even though he had heard Jesus say at least three times that he would die on a cross and on the third day rise again.

  • Our text picks up on Easter Sunday evening - the first day of the week. 

  • The word about Jesus’ resurrection was circulating and the disciples were hiding behind locked doors.  They were afraid.  

  • There would be investigations and interrogations and the same people who crucified Jesus would surely come after them.  Their fear is understandable.

  • Suddenly, Jesus appeared among them.  

  • He didn’t climb through the window or knock at the door.  He simply appeared.  He’s the Lord and he can do that. 

  • “Peace be with you” are the first words out of Jesus’ mouth.

  • And unlike our words, his words carry divine weight.  They do what they say.

  • Just as they did in the beginning of Genesis where God spoke and it was so.  

  • “Let there be light,” and light there is.  “Peace be with you,” and peace there is. 

  • This is peace that the world cannot give.  

  • This is the peace Jesus promised to his disciples before his death.  

  • This is the peace we have because of his death.    

  • Jesus showed them his hands and his side.  His wounds, the marks of his death, are the source of his peace. 

  • By his death, he conquered sin and death.  

  • By his death he won reconciliation for the world.  

  • By his death comes a peace that surpasses our understanding.

  • The sorrow and fear the disciples experienced quickly evaporated when Jesus appeared among them – his words and wounds brought them peace and joy.

  • “Peace be with you…” (John 20:21).  

  • Jesus said it again, but this time he adds more.

  • “Peace be with you.  As the Father sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). 

  • He then breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). 

  • This is their ordination.  With his words and his breath, Jesus ordains them to be his authorized representatives, to speak in his stead and by his command. 

  • And what he speaks and what he wants heard is the reason he entered this world to suffer and die – forgiveness.

  • He wants forgiveness to be spoken and given, “If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld” (John 20:23).  

  • The forgiveness spoken by the apostles is Jesus’ forgiveness.

  • The forgiveness that I, as your pastor, speak to you is also Jesus’ forgiveness.

  • Not because I am special – I am a sinner like everyone else.

  • The forgiveness that I speak to you is the forgiveness of Jesus because he has  given the Office of Holy Ministry this authority.

  • Though you only see and hear a fellow sinner standing before you when I speak the words of Absolution,  the words of forgiveness I speak, are from God himself. 

  • It is authorized by the Lord himself.  It is his office, his words, his breath, his Spirit.

  • Through this Office instituted by Jesus sins forgiven and retained.  

  • We call it the “Office of the Keys” - the keys that lock and unlock heaven itself by applying the forgiveness that Jesus won for you with his words.

  • The words “I forgive you all of your sins” spoken in the stead and by the command of the Lord Jesus Christ are the surest words there are on earth. 

  • They come by way of the cross and the tomb.  

  • They come with Jesus’ breath in view of his wounds.  

  • They justify the sinner.  They are words of eternal life!

  • Thomas wasn’t there that first Easter Sunday evening, so the other disciples told him what happened.

  • Thomas refused to believe.  

  • In fact, he said, “Unless I touch his hands and side, there’s no way I’ll ever believe it” (John 20:25). 

  • That’s not doubt. That’s simply unbelief.

  • But fortunately for Thomas, he was there the next Sunday. 

  • And again Jesus appeared to them.  And again he showed them his wounds – the nail marks, the spear mark. 

  • He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe” (John 20:27).  

  • And Thomas believed and confessed what he believed: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). 

  • Notice that Thomas never got around to touching the wounds as he said he wanted to do. 

  • Faith doesn’t come by touch.  Faith comes by hearing. 

  • We don’t cause or choose our faith.  We don’t make a decision to have faith. 

  • Jesus gives us the gift of our faith with his words.

  • After hearing Jesus’ words, Doubting Thomas, the unbelieving skeptic becomes “Thomas the Believer”.

  • “Have you believed because you have seen me?” Jesus asked Thomas (John 20:29). 

  • The answer is no. 

  • God’s Word is what makes faith happen.  

  • Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). 

  • Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and believe it and cling to it.

  • Blessed are you, here this morning.  

  • You have the Word of Jesus and you have the faith that it has created. 

  • St. John tells us that, “…these [things] are written so 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 20:31). 

  • The same Word that created faith in Thomas also stirs-up, strengthens, and sustains your faith. 

  • With “Believing Thomas”, you have the faith that receives all of the promises God has accomplished through Christ Jesus – forgiveness, peace, and eternal life.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.


The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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April 15, 2018

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May 14, 2017

Fifth Sunday of Easter

May 7, 2017

Fourth Sunday of Easter