Friday of Easter II – John 20:19-31 

19 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.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 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.”

File:Peter Paul Rubens - The Incredulity of St Thomas - WGA20193.jpg26 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.” 27 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.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 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.

Text Box: by Peter Paul Rubens c. 1613I have include a picture today. I pray you can see it. It is inspired by this scene, and it was executed by Peter Paul Rubens in the first part of the 17th century. We see Thomas and other disciples marveling at the nail marks in Jesus’s hands.

But I want you to notice that the painting also includes two other people, a richly dressed man and woman on either side. The man is Nicolaas Rockox and the woman is Adriana Perez, his wife. He was the mayor of Antwerp among other things. This picture was hung in a private chapel and was intended to be hung in their vault, the mausoleum in which they would eventually be laid to rest. I do not know the story of why, but the picture hangs today in the Royal Museum of Fine Art in Antwerp.

Nicolaas and Adriana wanted to remember the sentence Jesus spoke in verse 29: Blessed are those have not seen and yet have believed, so they put themselves into the picture. When you read Jesus speaking those lines in this passage, did you think of yourself? Did you imagine that Jesus was talking about you? He was. We might long to do what Thomas did, touch the wounds of the resurrected Christ, to have every doubt and fear set at ease. But Jesus calls you blessed because you have not seen and yet you believe. Hear the blessing which Christ has for you today. He sees you, your faith, and he delights in you.

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