The disciples in our text this morning hardly resemble the bold and courageous men who built the church. Something must have happened that changed them; something must have taken place that brought them out of their fear and gave them great confidence. Something did…Jesus appeared.
Jesus appeared and showed them his hands. Even Thomas, the one who said he wouldn’t believe unless he saw it for himself dropped to his knees and proclaimed Jesus as Lord and God. When Jesus appeared to the disciples he gave them undeniable proof that he was indeed very much alive. He gave them a sense of peace that the world cannot give and he breathed into them the breath of life that can come from no other than God himself. With the power of the Holy Spirit, the disciples believed and fear gave way to peace.
It’s an amazing thing when the peace of Christ comes upon you. All of a sudden the problems and pitfalls of human life aren’t as scary as they once were. When we have the peace of Christ we have the assurance that no matter what happens in this world, this life is but a glimpse into our eternal future with our Lord and God. The peace of Christ doesn’t make everything go away, but it does give us the power to believe God’s promises are true. The peace of Christ brings down the curtain of doubt and fear and gives rise to faith and belief. We know this because Jesus still shows us his hands.
He shows us his hand when people come to the help of others. When those who do the work of the gospel feed the hungry, visit the sick and welcome the strangers among us. Jesus shows us his hands when others pray for us, when our loved ones come to our aid, especially when we feel lost and alone. Jesus shows us his hands so that we can believe our sins are forgiven, that evil has lost its grip on humanity and the grave no longer has power over those who have received the breath of life from our Lord and God.
As Jesus comes to us in real and certain ways, we can live in the peace of God, knowing that Christ is with us always. Through Holy Scripture, our baptism and the Lord’s Supper, Jesus shows us his hands. Through the witness of the saints Christ makes his presence known. In prayer and fellowship among God’s people, Jesus is present feeding, nurturing and strengthening our faith so that we might tell others the good news of Easter. Easter continues, Christ is alive, our sins are forgiven and the promise of God’s kingdom is ours forever.