Sermon – December 27, 2020

John 20:19-31 – Resurrection Appearances (mp3)

We live in an age of skepticism. We find there to be much merit, even virtue, in thinking that if we can’t see it, if there is no overwhelming proof, then we won’t believe it. This attitude of skepticism has obvious trouble with the claim that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. How can we be sure? There are many answers to this question, but the most important is simply the mercy of Jesus our Lord. It is his mercy that allows us to truly see and believe. Today, as we look at the last two of his four resurrection appearances, let us see the mercy that Jesus shows in calling to belief those who are his!

1. Jesus provides strengthening mercy
The disciples were huddled behind locked doors, afraid of the Jewish leadership. When Jesus comes, miraculously, that all changes. He not only grants peace to them, he promises the Holy Spirit, commissions them to the task of the Kingdom, and grants them the power of the gospel to forgive sins. This strength, provided through the resurrection, is a mercy not just for them but for us as well. Our work for the kingdom is never in vain, never wasted. Our giving, work, words all matter. For Christ will build his Church, and no kingdom in the world can stand against it, even the gates of hell. Be strengthened in his mercy!

2. Jesus provides sufficient mercy
Thomas, though, was missing that night. And, when told, he refuses to believe unless he sees Jesus personally and feels the wounds in his hands. Jesus, kind and merciful, gives to Thomas the very thing that he withholds from Mary earlier – allowing him to touch the wounds that he might believe. But, we don’t all get this wish! Many would find, they think, belief easier if they could just see Jesus. But Jesus, not withholding blessing from us, is seen in the work he has done for his people, and the witness left behind for us. After all, John tells us that this is the very reason he has written to us! See the sufficient mercy of the word of God, and believe!