Sorry it took so long to get this up. But for some reason I thought it appropriate to sit and watch the morning news for a couple hours this morning.
Second Sunday in Easter
 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you."  And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld."
 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."
 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."  Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe."  Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"  Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;  but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:19-31 (ESV)
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ. The Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John almost ends his gospel there. He keeps going, he remembers afterward a few more details that he would like to share. But for now he is fairly confident that he has given you enough of the story to accomplish his purpose. He wrote this because he wants you to believe that Jesus is the Christ, and everything that entails, and believing have eternal life in his name. Believe as he and the disciples did, believe as Thomas came to believe after putting his hand in Jesus side, thrusting it there as Jesus bade him, who came to confess of Jesus on bended knee “My Lord and my God”. This is the force of the resurrection, it forces one to come to terms with who Jesus is, He is Lord and God!
We don’t often separate out the two thoughts very much. Lord and God. The word Lord had come to replace the divine name YHWH in the O.T. Adonai in the Hebrew, Kyrie in the Greek, hence the canticle we sing Sunday after Sunday “Lord have Mercy upon us,” titled “The Kyrie”. It was also a term that could be used of a king or emporer, or anyone of nobility, a general or someone who had garnered your respect. Thomas uses it, and Jesus approves of it, in the former way though, meaning Thomas now sees Jesus is The Lord of the Old Testament, He follows it up just to confirm what he means, “My God.”
People have lots of gods. It is true. There are many things that we find we fear, love or trust more than God. And these things actually drive us to sin. Those people or things we fear more than God, and who keep us from speaking his word, or to compromise our scruples cause us to sin, are our gods. Those things that we love more than God, and therefore make us sin willfully to attain or keep become our Gods. In Utah this tends to be family a husband or wife maybe children or parents things you would not give up for God and the eternal life he gives because it seems so remote and they are so close. Or those things or people you trust more than God, sometimes money or wealth.
Undoubtedly doubting Thomas struggled with these things too in life. But here he confesses, Jesus my God. And he knew all that that meant. To a Jewish bystander other than the disciples this would have been sheer fantasy. To this day this is the problem Muslims and Jews both have with Christianity. We confess a man to be God. We agree with them that God is spirit, that God is eternal that God has no beginning and no end. We agree with them that man cannot become God. Thomas did too. These are the teachings of Jesus himself. Jesus teaches that God is Spirit, that He is eternal. So how can a man become God? How can a man become that which is Spirit, how can that which has a beginning become eternal in the sense of God who has no beginning and no end. He can’t. Thomas didn’t believe a man could do this either, not even if he was to die and be resurrected. But the death and resurrection proves to Thomas that Jesus, who just appeared before him in flesh and bone as no ghost has in the confines of a locked room, who forgave the disciples their sins against him with the “peace be with you.” The sins they committed when for fear of men they abandoned him in the Garden. When they for the love of peace and security denied him in the court yards. Who for lack of trust in him and who he said he was, locked themselves in a room for fear of the Jews, and despaired at his death. Yet Jesus forgives them just as he forgives you and I. And Thomas is led to believe that here God has become man, so that with his death and resurrection there is eternal life to be had in his forgiveness for those who believe.
And this is what John wants you to believe. This is what Jesus wants you to believe, and why he had John write this gospel that you would believe that Jesus is the Christ, and make him your Lord and your God that you with Thomas and the disciples would receive the forgiveness of sins that he gives and have eternal life in his name. Eternal life in the name of the one who is eternal, who is God, to share in his being, who shared in our humanity, who for us men and for our salvation became man, and who even now as a Man lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit one God now and forever, and in that reign forgives our sins, and give us peace, restoring to us eternal life.
Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.