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The breath of life for the disciples, even Thomas

April 13, 2023

Daily Scripture

John 20:19-29

19 It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they aren’t forgiven.”
24 Thomas, the one called Didymus [or the twin], one of the Twelve, wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples told him, “We’ve seen the Lord!”
But he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe.”
26 After eight days his disciples were again in a house and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus entered and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!”
28 Thomas responded to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus replied, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Jesus’ disciples hid, afraid of the Jewish rulers. Jesus died; now his body was missing. But no one had stolen that body. Jesus was alive, their Messiah more than ever. He gave them his peace, his purpose (“As the Father sent me, so I am sending you”), and his power (“Receive the Holy Spirit”). Thomas missed the first meeting. He wouldn’t take their word that Jesus was alive. Jesus was patient with Thomas. Meeting Jesus clearly alive eight days later ended Thomas’ doubt. He said, “My Lord and my God!”

  • John’s gospel pointed readers to the Genesis 1-3 creation stories. After Jesus gave the disciples their mission (verse 21), “he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’”—an echo of Genesis 2:7. He twice offered them peace—“shalom” in Aramaic, which meant all that makes for human well-being, not just “no conflict.” How has Jesus breathed new hope, purpose and peace into you? In what ways can you tangibly share that beautiful wholeness with those around you?
  • John’s gospel began, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14). At the end, Thomas set aside his doubt and became the first person in that gospel to fully get that, to address Jesus directly as “God.” Will you join him, bow before Jesus, and say “My Lord and my God”?

Lord Jesus, you are my Lord and my God. You are my Creator and my Redeemer. Because you live, I too will live forever. I thank you and I praise you today. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

My grandmother was a strong Christian. The light of Christ shone brightly through her. She didn’t miss a Sunday of worship, she read her Bible, and she lived out her faith by visiting those in the hospital or who were shut in. She was kind, patient, and encouraging. She was just a salt of the earth kind of person. When I was about 10, she told me about her own relationship with God. She explained that her prayer life was highly conversational. She had developed such a close relationship with God that she spoke in very familiar terms. In fact, she said that in her private prayers, she chose to call God and Jesus by the names Frank and Pete. She said she knew those weren’t their names, but she talked to “Frank” and “Pete” as if though they were her best friends.

A couple of years later, she developed a highly aggressive cancer that eventually took her. The days leading up to her death were really bad. She had lost about half her weight, she was jaundiced, and you could just tell that she was miserable. When we got the call that she had passed, I sobbed uncontrollably. Even though I was only 12, I felt like I should have been with her. Trying to console me, my parents said, “Honey, she knew that you loved her. And in her final hours, she wasn’t the same grandma you knew. She was so sick that she was hallucinating. She was having conversations with people who weren’t even there–a Frank and a Pete.” “Frank and Pete?” I asked. “Yes, she was carrying on with them as if they were there in the room. She said she was ready to go with them.” Apparently, she hadn’t told anyone else about Frank and Pete, but I knew exactly with whom she was talking. She wasn’t hallucinating at all! As the veil between heaven and earth was lifting, she was talking to her good friends, Frank and Pete, who were right there to welcome her in. I truly believe that she saw God and Jesus in those moments.

I tell you this story today, because I think we all need reminders and encouragement in our journeys of faith. The resurrection is real. Heaven is real. We can trust in Jesus as our redeemer, savior, and friend. He’s gone to prepare a place for us, and when it’s our time, our good friend will be there to greet us and welcome us home.

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.