Can you believe that you live forever?
Reading: John 20:19-29
Additional reading: Revelation 1:4-8
Some people may say that Jesus lived a very dangerous life.
It was because he followed God’s plan.
Jesus understood God’s plan, thoughts, and understanding.
Then he chose God’s plan for his future.
Since he knew everything about his future, he knew that he would die and be raised again from the dead.
He knew everything about his life.
He knew the meaning of his life.
Was it more difficult to live because he knew every detail of his suffering, his humiliation, and his death?
Was it more painful to live because he knew beforehand?
Or was it easier because he focused on his resurrection?
Anyway, when his students grew a lot in faith, he talked about his life to his disciples.
Then, Peter, one of his students was like:
“That is scary.
That is crazy.
I mean, you know, I love you.
You are my lord.
But you are wrong about this.”
Peter dared to challenge Jesus.
Other disciples might have thought:
“Peter, talk with him. Yeah!
Talk him about it.”
They knew well that it would be too painful to follow this kind of the Christ.
Who wants that?
His students had their own plan about how the Messiah should live.
They had their own plan about how Jesus should live.
So, at this time, they challenged Jesus.
They hoped that Jesus would change his mind.
But then Jesus didn’t pretend that he had another plan.
Jesus never pretended that he would follow another plan.
Instead, Jesus asked them to change their mind.
Jesus was sure of his plan.
Then Jesus continually followed God’s thought and plan.
He prayed for this and continued with God’s plan.
So Jesus talked about his death and resurrection again and again.
His students could not understand this.
They didn't want to understand it.
Then they were in denial.
They were like:
"Oh, well, it must be some kind of parable.
You know he likes to tell stories.
Maybe he is trying to teach us something here.
It is not going to happen literally, right?”
“I think so.
But I am afraid to ask him more about it.”
After this unconsciously, they were ignoring him whenever Jesus talked about this.
They could not hear it.
Jesus knew of God's plan, even though they didn’t understand.
So, Jesus was like:
After my resurrection, I need to explain to them more so that they understand this.
But still I am going to live out this life according to the Bible.
Then they would understand.
Then they would know that God is right.
“I am fearful of this, too.
But I have this inner confidence that this would work.
I know that God planned this out for eternal salvation of all people.
So I got to go on with this plan.
God is with me.”
Jesus understood this plan had to succeed for his people.
With this plan he could change the world.
So he died on the cross.
He died in his faith.
He died because he had faith.
Even though he talked about his death many times, when he died, his students felt all kinds of emotions at the same time.
They were shocked and terrified.
They felt anger.
They felt lost.
They felt confused.
They felt powerless and hopeless.
It was just crazy.
You know people go through these kinds of thoughts when they lost something or someone.
Also it was very difficult to forgive those who killed Jesus whom they loved.
Also they might have thought:
“We had invested our three years on Jesus!
What happened now?”
But they also realized that:
It was too dangerous for them to talk about Jesus anymore outside.
It was too dangerous even to go outside.
So, they locked all the doors and stayed inside.
They were fearful.
They were totally disconnected from the authority.
They were nervous about the whole situation.
Then Jesus came back to life!
He first appeared to Mary Magdalene.
So she told them about Jesus’ resurrection.
But other students were like:
Then Thomas, one of the students of Jesus, couldn’t take it anymore.
Thomas might have thought he needed some fresh air.
So, he got up and went out.
Then that evening, Jesus appeared to other students:
They didn’t know what to think.
Jesus just entered into their life again!
Jesus was peaceful and joyful.
Then he said something like this:
"Peace be with you!
Don’t be scare of me like that.
I told you.
"Well, now you have seen my life.
Now you know it works.
Now you know that my faith works.
You have seen it.
Here is the proof.
I am the resurrection.
If you believe in me, you never die.” (Luke 24: 36-39)
Then he breathed on them, saying:
“Receive the Holy Spirit.
You have seen people giving me a hard time.
But I forgive them.
“Now remember that you also have the power to forgive.
So, you forgive people.
If you forgive, they are forgiven.”
Even after Jesus left them, they were upbeat and excited.
They were so happy.
They felt so good and amazed.
They could not stop talking about this.
Then Thomas came back home.
He saw everyone was different.
Thomas felt so confused.
He was like:
What? Jesus came here?”
They were like:
“Yeah, Jesus came back to life!”
His friends were explaining to him over and over.
They told him what Jesus said.
They were like:
“Do you remember when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead?
At that time, Jesus said that he was the Resurrection and the life.
That is so true.
Now he raised himself from the dead.”
But for some reason, Thomas couldn’t believe that Jesus could come back to life.
His mind could not embrace this fact.
It was not that he didn’t want to believe.
He wanted to believe the resurrection of Jesus.
But this was more than he could imagine or believe.
Have you been where you thought God could not bless you that much but later it happened?
Maybe Thomas was like that:
Thomas tried to believe that Jesus rose from the death.
But he could not.
For some reason, he could not believe this without experiencing it.
So he said:
“If I touch Jesus and see the nail marks in his hands, I think I can believe.
If I have more evidences and proofs, I think I can believe.”
But Jesus didn’t appear again, for a week.
Jesus let Thomas struggle with it.
He allowed Thomas to question about this resurrection.
Jesus just let him doubt all his wanted.
Jesus let him think about this as much as possible.
Thomas needed this.
This was also a part of spiritual training for him.
If Thomas experienced this, he could also understand those who doubt.
Then he could help them, because he knew what was like to doubt and what was like to believe.
Anyway, Thomas didn't go anywhere at this time.
Thomas was there among his friends who believed.
He didn't leave them who believed in something that he couldn’t.
He was there with them.
How awkward it could have been.
After a week, Jesus came back to this house again.
“Peace be with you.”
Then Jesus was like:
That is enough.
Take your finger!
Examine my hands.
Examine my side."
Thomas saw Jesus standing there.
Jesus looked very good.
He was real.
Thomas was happy that Jesus came back to life.
Thomas was happy that he met Jesus again.
That was it.
Then he could accept this as the fact.
So Thomas was like:
"My God and My Lord!
You are alive!
Now I believe.
I believe that you are the Resurrection."
Many years later, Thomas went to India to share this message.
Thomas patiently helped Indians to believe in his message.
Then one day, those people from India might have said:
“Yes, we believe now.
We have not seen Jesus, like you did.
But we experience him, in our hearts.
We experience him in the power of the Holy Spirit.
We believe in the story of Jesus."
Then Thomas might have rejoiced and said:
“Jesus, they believe this story of resurrection without seeing it.
Do they really believe?
Wow, they are better than me."
Jesus believed in his life.
But students could not understand it at first.
So Jesus went through it all before their eyes.
Jesus helped them to experience the resurrection of Christ.
Like this, Jesus showed them the power of resurrection.
Then they have changed their minds.
Then they knew and understood that this resurrected Jesus lives forever.
And they were like:
“Now we believe in you, Jesus.
We believe that Jesus lives forever.
And because of you, we will also live forever.”
Then Jesus asked them to pay the price for what they have seen and believe in.
Then Jesus called them to live like him.
Then Jesus gave them the power of the Holy Spirit.
Then, his students also face their death with the faith that Jesus had.
This story of Jesus has been told almost 2000 years.
Many people believe and follow Jesus Christ.
Many people have been telling the story of Jesus to others.
Then more and more people get to know that Jesus is the resurrection and life.
Being a church goer, sharing this good news is our main thing.
May we encourage those who are faithful to share the story of Jesus.
May we continue sharing this so that people may believe in Jesus and experience him in their lives.
And may we also experience the power of Resurrection today.
Jesus, thank you for inspiring us to live your life on earth.
Help us to remember you and your life.
Help us to follow you through our life.
Help us to share what we have learned from you.
May we experience you and share our experience with others so that more people may enjoy you and live your life faithfully.
In your name we pray.