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of a Spirit, even if it were of the best beloved, and he makes haste to show them that his body is real. True, it has now the powers of the second life, and was present with them by the act of His will, though their doors were barred and locked for fear of the Jews; but still it is He Himself, full as ever of thought for them. How touching are his words and actions, as he invites them to throw aside their fears, and once again to enter into familiar converse with Him ! “Behold
hands and feet ! ” See the wounds which caused my death. Yet “handle me and see” that I am myself, alive and full of tenderness for you.
Verse 41. “And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye any meat ? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish and of a honeycomb, and he took it and did eat before them.”
Do not these things that Jesus did to re-assure his disciples, remind us of those words of Scripture, " As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.” Even as the mother encourages her frightened child, leads him up to the object of his childish fear, makes him touch it, shows it to him in the light, and on every side, till he understands its nature, so did the blessed Jesus with His disciples, and in so doing, he says to us as he did to them, “ Peace be unto you.” Never more be ye troubled, never more let thoughts of fear arise in your hearts. You see in my glorified body, what yours shall be, and that now no hindrances, no difficulties, no bolts or bars, no walls of stone, or fear of man can keep my presence from you.
Oh surely they who know the Scriptures, if they believe them, need never fear nor doubt.
Verses 44-48. “ And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understandings that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third day,: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things."
Prayer. Heavenly Saviour, we adore thine infinite love which ever seeks to cheer, and to strengthen those whose hope is in Thee. Like Thy disciples after Thy crucifixion, we are often troubled and perplexed. Thoughts arise in our hearts, we seem to have lost sight of Thee. The fear of man is a snare to us, and events seem not to be such as Thy promises had led us to believe. Oh! at such times as these, be present in our hearts. Open our understandings that we may understand the Scriptures. Shew us that thus and thus it must be, and that the very things which seemed to be against us are forwarding thy will in the salvation of our souls. Let Thy voice reach our innermost hearts, saying unto us, “ Peace be unto you ;” peace in life, peace in death, and thus may we pass to a joyful resurrection with Thee, who livest and reignest with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Joan xx. 24, 25. “But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hands into his side, I will not believe.”
It was no want of love that caused Thomas thus to speak. He it was, who when the Apostles feared for the life of their Lord—if he should go up again to Jerusalem, proposed to go with him, that he might die with Him ; * but his was a mind that dwelt on facts. What he saw made a strong impression, and what he believed, he deeply felt. His opinions and his affections were strong, and he could not be guided by others. It is evident from bis words that he had seen the body of Jesus, dead, when taken down from the cross, and his mind had so thoroughly received the conviction of his death, that to be told that he was now alive, seemed to himn as an idle tale. Thus it is clear, that when he loved Jesus as his Lord, he did not in the least understand that He was God as well as man. Is there any one with a mind like this, who, with a real love for God, desires to know the truth? he is certain to be taught, and when once convinced, he becomes a witness whom none can gainsay.t Of this sort was Saul of Tarsus, who became the zealous apostle Paul. Thomas received no comfort from the words of his fellow-apostles. When they told him, that they had seen the Lord, he did not believe them. No! the appearance of the wounded and disfigured body was too much present with him, for him to believe that Jesus could be alive again. They may have been deceived by some fancied resemblance, but he for his part would not, and could not believe unless he not only saw, but put his finger into the print of the nails in the hands, and thrust his hand into the hole made in the side of Jesus by the soldier's spear. Thus Thomas spoke; and his
John xi. 16.
† Acts ix. 22.
want of the power of believing from the report of others has been a blessing to thousands, who like him naturally turn an unbelieving ear to the marvellous.
Verses 26—28. “And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them : then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side, and be not faithless but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, “ My Lord, and
The proof he had desired was within his reach, but it was not ne ded now ; conviction flashed at once into the soul of Thomas, he saw, he heard, he believed, he felt that he looked upon Jesus his risen Lord, and that He was God.
Verse 29.“ Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
Jesus, the ever-present Lord and Saviour, had heard the words of His apostle, and He satisfied his mind beyond the possibility of doubt, but in doing so, he had regard to all. He thought of the long line of believers, who should never see Him in the flesh, and who yet should be able to believe. He left a solemn blessing upon them, a blessing which has come down to our time, and sheds its radiance upon many a dying bed.
We see thee not, O holy Saviour; yet by Thy grace do we believe. Strengthen and increase our faith.
There seems to be little doubt from what we have read, that the Apostles remained for eight days in Jerusalem after the morning of the resurrection of Jesus.
The time had now come when, the Passover solemnities being ended, the multitudes which had filled the city should disperse, and each man return to his own home; the disciples of Jesus as well as the others. The apostles having twice at least seen their Lord in Jerusalem, were not afraid to depart for Galilee, though He no longer accompanied them ; for they had His express promise that He would go before them and meet them there. More than this, He had appointed a place of meeting. He had chosen one of the lonely mountains that surround the sea of Galilee, and there, far apart from the tumult of men, He gives His solemn charge to His apostles.
Matt. xxviii. 16, 17. “Then thee leven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him : but some doubted.”
It was not the eleven only, who met him here. It must have been on this mountain, that “ He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once. And when they saw Him they worshipped him. How great must have been the joyful adoration with which they fell at his feet. But a few days before, their hopes had perished. All had seemed to be lost for ever
He who, they had hoped, was to have delivered Israel, had been crucified. Now He was standing before them on that mountain in the broad light of day! He bore in His hands and in His feet the marks of the cross. It was His real presence. He had overcome the sharpness of death. He would open the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Well might they worship Him.
Verse 17. But some doubted.” The wonder was too great for the minds of some to believe, and for a time they remained doubtful. It is better that it should have been so ; for their testimony, when they were con
1 Corinthians xv. 6.