Jesus came JOHN 20:19–23
By Jemma Redman
This is the point of the entire gospel today and this wonderful celebration of the Church – Pentecost.
John 20: 19–23, says that “In the evening of the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you,’ and showed them his hands and his side.
The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again. ‘Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.’
After saying this he breathed on them and said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained.’”
Just imagine brothers and sisters, that just like the disciples, we too are closed in our homes for fear.
It is the first day of the week. It was not morning, but evening, just when you think that it is over, that the day is over, but then…. it is now beginning.
Here the disciples have lived in fear since the crucifixion of Jesus. They don’t know where to go, what to do. They did not have a blueprint, or a road map for the way forward.
Fear! Terror! They too might be killed. Just like in this pandemic, we do not know, and have never experienced this before. We are wearing masks, young and old; cannot hug and touch friends and family, warned against even touching our faces.
The elderly cannot have visitors, and the dying can have no-one at their death beds and few at their funerals.
We are not sure if we are able to hold on to our homes, our cars, our businesses, our jobs. We do not know what our children’s future would look like. How long will they be at home? No-one knows. In many ways, this is what the disciples were experiencing. The fear of the unknown.
But as the evening came and the end of the day drew near, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them “Peace be with you”. He was with them, as He is with us today. Didn’t he keep His promise to never leave or forsake us? Where two or more are gathered together in His Name, there He is in the midst of our fear, our troubles.
The gospel goes on to say, “and showed them his hands and his side”. He is telling them and us, that ‘I have gone through the crucifixion, look at the evidence, I went through it all already for you. I know what it is like, whatever you are going through I have been there, but I have overcome the world for you. Be comforted for I am sending you the comforter, the Holy Spirit, you will never be alone.’
So, believe, as Thomas eventually did, and say, “My Lord and My God.”
The text said that the disciples were “filled with joy”. Let us too be filled with joy, for the joy of the Lord is our strength.
In this Pentecost, let us be reminded, that “Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
The gospel meditations for May were by Jemma Redman, founder of Spirit Global, a spiritual support non-governmental organisation called ‘to walk with men and women’. She is the Artistic Director of The Drama Ministry for the Southern Vicariate, and for St Mary Magdalene RC Church, Houston, Texas.