First Appearances

Apr 11, 2023 | Hope

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
John 20:29b (NIV)
Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene. She stood outside the tomb, crying. As she wept, two angels appeared, and asked Mary why she was weeping. Jesus comes forward from the tomb and reveals Himself to Mary. Immediately, Mary Magdalene ran to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!”


On the evening of the first day of the week, the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders. Jesus came among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Jesus showed the disciples his hands and side. The disciples became overjoyed when they saw the LORD.


Once more Jesus said, “Peace be with you!” He told them as God the Father had sent Him, so He was sending them. With that, Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” How amazing to have received the breath of God in person with Jesus! The Holy Spirit would now help them do their work.


The disciples told Thomas that they had seen Jesus. This disciple was not with them when Jesus appeared to the others. Thomas told them he would have to see the nail marks on Jesus’ hands and put his hand to his side, where Jesus had been pierced or he would not believe. What would you have done? Would you have believed the others, or would you need proof of the death of Jesus?


A week later, Jesus appeared to Thomas, who was in the house with the other disciples. He told Thomas to put his finger on His hands, and to reach out his hand and put it to Jesus’ side. His words to Thomas reverberate through the centuries as we find them in John 20, “stop doubting and believe.” Those words are good words for all of us to remember. We must bring our doubts to Jesus and ask Him to help us believe. Be sure He will answer that cry of your heart.


Jesus said that Thomas believed because he saw Jesus… but “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29b)


These words are written so that you may and I may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in his name. (John 20)


Easter goes by so quickly and then it is over. Yet it is never really over for those who believe. We know Jesus died and rose again. We know that there are many accounts of proof that Jesus arose from the tomb in the garden. We believe with all our hearts in Jesus’ death on the cross and in His resurrection from the grave. And now we live with the breath of God inside of us, giving us the power to conquer all obstacles, and to do the work He has set aside for us on earth.


Jesus has given us life. Life on the inside, life eternal. life forevermore! The Easter Celebration as we know it may be over, but Jesus’ life is in us, leading us and guiding us, filling us with power to live daily for His Kingdom. The life He gives we live with exultation in Him. This life is life is eternal life. Jesus conquered death, we need not fear the moment of our earthly death if we believe in Jesus Christ. He gives life and power to live in this life and He gives life forevermore! That is a reason to celebrate every day of our lives, both now and forevermore!


His appearance to the early believers was real. His life inside of those filled with the Holy Spirit is real.


Do you doubt as Thomas did? Then ask Jesus to show Himself real to you. That will be a prayer you never regretted. Then repent and believe in Jesus Christ and live with His life, His Spirit, His power in you now and forevermore.


Appearances are important to many people, but the appearance of Jesus Christ our LORD is the only appearance worth focusing on. If you make Jesus your focus, all the rest of things will change. Your life will change, your heart will change, your views will change, your motivations will change, and your destiny will change forever.


May I invite you to focus on Jesus, our Redeemer and LORD, above all “things?”


Jesus parted with the instructions for believers to tell the world the Good News of the Gospel. What will you do with those parting words?


“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15a,15c)


We will do our part to share the Good News with those who will believe, until our dying breath, because with His dying breath He brought us LIFE. That LIFE is worth sharing and honoring, and exalting! JESUS gave us LIFE! Shout it out and share it to the ends of the earth! HE IS ALIVE!!!


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