The 20th Chapter of John’s Gospel loudly proclaims that the resurrection is the heart of the gospel message. The writer says in verses 30-31 that he has written to make three things clear: (1) that God wants all people to believe; (2) that Jesus fulfils the promises of God and (3) that God grants eternal life to all those who believe.
Throughout the Gospel, John writes to strengthen the faith of the believers and the need to share the gospel to others. To Thomas who doubted Jesus’ appearance to his fellow disciples, John writes that Jesus appeared to doubting Thomas personally on the second Lord’s Day. Immediately, Thomas fell on his knees and cried out his confession, “My Lord and my God!” Thomas saw Jesus and he believed. We believe without seeing because we take Jesus at His Word. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe”.
Although we do not “see” Jesus, His presence can be ours, too. We can sense His presence in our fellowship with other Christians. Jesus said that wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, there He would be in the midst. Jesus is with us. He is with us in our praises, our prayers and our intercessions.
Jesus is present when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, as we serve others in Christ’s name, and in the reading of the Scriptures. Erasmus, a gifted German scholar, wrote in the preface to his Textus Receptus, the first Greek Testament ever published and the one that is the basis for the translation of the King James Version, these words: “On these pages you will see the face of Jesus. You will see the Lord Himself, the whole Christ, more fully and more completely than if He stood in the flesh before you”.
Thomas who had seen the risen Christ went as far as India to share the Good News of salvation. According to tradition, Thomas went to India to establish seven churches in South India and was martyred near Madras. Another tradition said he went even to China. The great numbers of Christians under Thomas in India substantiated the tradition.
The risen Saviour still calls us to witness in deed as well as in word. It is our privilege, too that we can share and take the gospel to others. We cannot be comfortable just to sit back and enjoy the Lord’s presence. The Lord is with all those hurting people and has compassion for them. If we are relaxed and insulated from those people, we cannot be walking very closely with Jesus because He is out in the field.
The disciples of Jesus shared with those in need – not because a law regulated their love but because they knew the risen Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They knew that serving the needs of others was for them a way to witness to the power of the resurrection in their own lives. Even their personal possessions became the common property of the church in order to meet the needs of all. Martin Luther once said that “he lives the best who does not live to himself”.