Thought for the Week
Scripture Reading – John Ch. 19 v 28 – 30 and John Ch. 20 v 19 – 23.
What is it, I wonder that makes you glad or overjoyed? Are you glad when the marching season (normally) starts and you can parade behind a good band playing Christian hymns or Orange tunes. Are you overjoyed when your favourite football team wins the Premiership? I’m sure all of us will be glad when this Coronavirus pandemic has subsided and some degree of normality returns.
In John Ch. 20, v. 20 we are told, “Then were the disciples glad/overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
It was the first Easter evening – the reality of the Resurrection had yet to sink in. The disciples were meeting behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. John 20:19.20 tell us, “Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' After He said this He showed them his hands and side. Then were the disciples glad/overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
First of all, There is a message here for believers.
These disciples were glad, overjoyed, because the Saviour’s atoning work was complete. He showed them His hands and side and they saw the significance of His death. They saw that all their sin and shame and condemnation had been borne by Jesus. They saw that all the wrath due to them was poured out on Jesus; they were forgiven. Christian does this not gladden your heart?
They were also overjoyed that He was among them and with them. And that should bring joy and gladness to our hearts as well. He is always with us…
In sickness and in health, In poverty and in wealth, In failure and in success, In sadness and in happiness.
In the midst of this pandemic, even when your heart quakes, keep your eyes upon Jesus and know that He is with you.
They were also overjoyed when they realized that His resurrection was the guarantee of their entrance into eternal life and into resurrection glory. “Because I live ye shall live also.” (John Ch. 14 v. 19).
Secondly – there is a message here for backsliders.
You could argue, couldn’t you, that these disciples were somewhat backslidden? Peter had denied Him, most of them had deserted Him and we discover later that Thomas was doubting Him. Could it be that there are backsliders reading this today? Once there burned in your heart a glowing fire for the Lord, but not now. Once you made sure you read your Bible regularly and prayed regularly, but not now. Once you looked for ways that you could serve the Lord, but not now.
So what backslider must you do? - you must look again to Jesus. He showed them His hands and side.
Look again at His nail-pierced hands: pierced for you. Look again at His wounded side: opened for you. Backslider, be reminded of what the Lord has done for you and reconsecrate yourself. “Lest I forget Gethsemane, Lest I forget Thine agony, Lest I forget Thy love for me, Lead me to Calvary.”
By Wor. Bro. Rev. Alastair Smyth, Grand Chaplain