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The Simplicity Of Witness

John 20:18

Mary came to the tomb in sadness: she returned in gladness. She had expected to sprinkle embalming spices on a dead body, and was distraught that the body was missing. Then she met the risen Jesus and her whole outlook changed. Going back to the sad, confused and anxious disciples, Mary radiated joy, certainty and hope.

Joy Inside

John 20:19-20

It had been a long day. Mary Magdalene and other women went to the tomb to find the stone rolled away, and angels who said that the tomb was empty because Jesus was alive (Luke 24:1-8). Later, Jesus appeared to Mary, Peter and the two disciples who lived in Emmaus (Luke 24:33-35).

Get Ready To Receive

John 20:21-23

Jesus had come through the locked doors. Only one day previously, the disciples had no hope because they thought Jesus was dead. Their whole lives had been bound to His: His work was their work and His presence was their peace. And that was going to continue. But there would be a big difference. Jesus was alive but with a resurrection body; He would appear among them and then disappear as He chose over the next 39 days – getting them ready for His ascension.

Jesus Rebukes Aggressive Doubt

John 20:24-28

Simple doubt is honest. It says that we do not know or cannot be sure, but it is open to instruction and help (Mark 9:24). However, Thomas’s doubt was not like that. It was wilful, aggressive and hard-hearted (Mark 16:14). Despite the evidence of the other disciples and the reports from the women who had been at the tomb, Thomas was determined not to believe unless he had physical first-hand evidence.

Believing Is More Than Seeing

John 20:29

Thomas, one of the disciples, had refused to believe that Jesus was alive unless he had physical evidence. A week later, Jesus confronted him with His wounded hands and side, rebuking him for refusing to believe. The evidence was so overwhelming that Thomas had no option but to admit that Jesus was both Lord and God. His refusal to believe was defeated; he believed because of what he saw.

Faith Comes From Believing What Is Written

John 20:30-31

Jesus had just rebuked Thomas for refusing to believe the resurrection without seeing His crucifixion wounds. In the next verse John summarises his Gospel account by saying that Jesus’ miracles, especially the miracle of His resurrection, were recorded so that we would believe. So is there a contradiction? No! The key to resolving this is in what John wrote: that the miracles were seen by the disciples/apostles and recorded in the books (Gospels) so that anybody could read and believe that Jesus is God the Son.

When Nothing Seems To Be Happening

John 21:1-3

It must have seemed a strange time for the disciples. Their usual daily routine with Jesus had gone, and with it their sense of daily purpose. Despite the occasional surprise appearances of Jesus to various disciples, it was clear that life would not be the same again. And how would they earn their living without the practical and financial support that came to the group around Jesus? So Peter decided to make things happen. He announced that he was going fishing. At least he and the other men knew how to catch fish … or so they thought.

Jesus In Command

John 21:4-7

Although Jesus has not told the disciples to go fishing, it was the best thing Peter could think of doing. But it was a wasted night on the water. They caught no fish at all. At dawn they were only one hundred metres from the shore (John 21:8) when they saw a man at the water’s edge. He called out to them to throw out their net on the other side of the boat; and when they did so they caught an amazing number of fish.

Counting Your Blessings

John 21:8-11

The Bible teaches us not to put our trust in the numbers or strength of what we have, but we are taught to give thanks. A friend of mine took a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee some time ago. He said, “During the trip, the boat stopped, the captain stripped to his shorts and dived overboard! He surfaced holding a large fish which he manhandled on board. We had no idea they could grow that big. I had previously wondered why 153 large fish could cause the fishermen such a problem. Then I knew! A net with that many of such large fish would truly be a miracle.

Recognising The Lord At Work

John 21:12-14

The stranger on the shore had already prepared a fish-barbeque breakfast with warm bread (John 21:9 ). His invitation to the disciples to add some of the fish they had caught seemed unnecessary. But there was no need to ask who He was – the stranger’s voice had the note of divine command. His personal interest had the warmth of divine love, and His patience in standing by the pre-cooked barbecue had the mark of divine peace.