Commentary on John 20:19-29
John 20:19-29 is a significant passage in the Gospel of John that recounts the events following Jesus' resurrection. It provides valuable insights into the disciples' reactions to seeing the risen Jesus and the doubts of Thomas. This commentary aims to explore the key themes and messages conveyed in this passage.
The Fear of the Disciples (John 20:19)
In the opening verse of this passage, we witness the disciples gathered together behind locked doors due to fear. The crucifixion of Jesus had left them confused, disheartened, and fearful for their own lives. This fear is a powerful reminder of the impact Jesus' death had on his closest followers.
Jesus' Peaceful Appearance (John 20:19)
Despite the disciples' fear, Jesus appears among them, standing in their midst. His sudden presence brings a sense of peace, as he greets them with the words, "Peace be with you." This greeting is not merely a casual salutation but carries a deeper spiritual meaning, conveying the peace that only Jesus can give.
The Commissioning of the Disciples (John 20:21-23)
After assuring the disciples of his peace, Jesus commissions them with a mission. He says, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." This commissioning marks the transition of the disciples from followers to apostles, as they are entrusted with the responsibility of continuing Jesus' work in the world.
The Gift of the Holy Spirit (John 20:22)
In verse 22, Jesus breathes on the disciples and says, "Receive the Holy Spirit." This act symbolizes the impartation of the Holy Spirit to the disciples, empowering them for the task of spreading the Gospel. It foreshadows the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, which would equip the disciples with supernatural abilities.
The Doubts of Thomas (John 20:24-25)
Thomas, one of the disciples, was not present when Jesus appeared to the others. When informed about Jesus' resurrection, he expresses his doubt, stating that he would only believe if he sees and touches Jesus' wounds. Thomas' doubt serves as a reminder that even the closest followers of Jesus struggled with faith.
Jesus' Appearance to Thomas (John 20:26-29)
A week later, Jesus appears to the disciples once again, and this time, Thomas is present. Jesus invites Thomas to touch his wounds and encourages him to believe, saying, "Stop doubting and believe." Thomas, overwhelmed by this encounter, exclaims, "My Lord and my God!" This powerful confession underscores the divinity of Jesus.
Blessed Are Those Who Have Not Seen (John 20:29)
In the concluding verse of this passage, Jesus blesses those who have not seen him and yet believe. This statement extends beyond the immediate context and encompasses all future believers. It emphasizes the importance of faith and the role it plays in our relationship with Jesus.
Lessons and Applications
Facing Our Fears
The disciples' fear behind locked doors resonates with our own fears and insecurities. This passage teaches us that Jesus can bring peace into our lives, even in the midst of fearful circumstances. We are encouraged to confront our fears and trust in Jesus' presence and power to overcome them.
Commissioned for a Purpose
Just as Jesus commissioned the disciples, we too are called to a purpose. This passage reminds us that we are sent into the world as representatives of Jesus, carrying the message of the Gospel. We are to be active participants in God's redemptive work, making disciples and sharing the love of Christ with others.
Receiving the Holy Spirit
The disciples' reception of the Holy Spirit highlights the importance of the Holy Spirit's presence and empowerment in our lives. It is through the Holy Spirit that we are equipped to fulfill our mission and live out our faith. This passage prompts us to seek a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit and rely on His guidance.
Dealing with Doubt
Thomas' doubt and subsequent belief offer encouragement to those who struggle with doubt. It reminds us that doubts are not uncommon and that Jesus is patient and compassionate towards our uncertainties. We are called to bring our doubts to Jesus, seeking His presence and allowing Him to strengthen our faith.
The Blessing of Faith
Jesus' blessing on those who have not seen but believe affirms the value and significance of faith. It reminds us that faith is not based on tangible evidence but is rooted in trust and belief in Jesus' words. This passage encourages us to cultivate a deep and unwavering faith, knowing that it pleases God and brings blessings.
John 20:19-29 provides a rich and profound commentary on the disciples' fear, Jesus' peaceful appearance, the commissioning of the disciples, Thomas' doubt, and Jesus' response to doubt. It offers valuable lessons and applications for believers today, inviting us to confront our fears, embrace our commission, receive the Holy Spirit, deal with doubt, and live a life of faith. May we be inspired by this passage to seek a deeper relationship with Jesus and live as confident and faithful followers.