In this article I will discuss Jesus’ shocking words and actions following his resurrection.
Prior to the resurrection, Peter transitioned from following Jesus to fighting to defend Jesus (John 18:10) to three times denying ever knowing Jesus (Mark 14:66-72, Matthew 26:69-75, Luke 22:54-62) to grieving Jesus.
Following the resurrection, Jesus appeared to all who were present. Sadly, Thomas was absent from church that day. The other disciples shared the good news of the resurrection. Thomas declared that he would not believe until he saw for himself.
What would you do if you were Jesus in this circumstance? You’ve died for your disciples, but first you are betrayed by Judas and repeatedly denied by Peter and later doubted by Thomas.
What would you do? You certainly wouldn’t depend on such ungrateful and ill-disciplined people to share the good news of Jesus Christ to all the world.
Prior to exploring this further, I want to share another thought from scripture. Genesis chapter 1 verses 26 and 27 provide the biblical account of the creation of humanity in the image of God.
Consider the ramifications. Humanity created in the image of God! It means that the people around you are made in the image of God. It means that wonderful people who make life better are made in the image of God. It also means that the people who annoy, frustrate, anger, or upset you are also made in the image of God. It even means that you are made in the image of God.
Now we return to Jesus’ resurrection and Peter and Thomas.
Jesus taught to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and body and to love our neighbor and our enemies and to forgive. But What Would Jesus Do (WWJD) after all he had been through? More to the point, What did Jesus do? How were Peter and Thomas punished? Jesus did not condemn Peter or Thomas. Jesus spoke directly with Thomas and Peter and supportively. Jesus continued in teaching and fellowship with his disciples until his ascension to the right side of God. The Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples and followers on Pentecost and the early Christian Church began with Peter, Thomas, other disciples, and followers. Others followed Jesus later including Paul. Still others, myself included, follow our Lord Jesus Christ today and into the future.
Christianity isn’t about what we would or would not do. It is about what God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit did and continue to do today and into the future.
The Rev. Stephen Reed
Stephen Reed is pastor at St. Paul Church on Farmers Loop next to Mushers Hall and chaplain for Police and Fire. Faith Insight is sponsored by the Tanana Valley Christian Conference.
Printed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on June 11, 2023
Married 27 years, 2 kids, 1 cat and 1 dog. Ordained & Chaplain for 20 years. Ministry philosophy - we're all in this together and Jesus leads the way. Hobbies: working in the woodshed, teaching, and competitive shooting