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March 31, 2024

Unless I See…I Will Not Believe

Pastor KJ Kim

John 20:19-29

Look at what happens and how the disciples handle the Easter message on the very first Easter evening. Although we probably do a good job shouting, singing, and crying out the Easter messages on Easter morning, I wonder how we live out those messages in the real world we live in every day.

The disciples gathered together; they were behind closed doors. The disciples seem like they are suffering from PTSD, as they witnessed the crucifixion—3 days ago. They were behind the door. They were afraid, so the doors were shut for safety, shut in fear, shut in order to hide.

Today’s passage is not about closed doors. Jesus came and disrupted their safe hiding and said, “Peace be with you.” Yes, Jesus came, stood, and said.

I don’t know about you, but the response from the doubting Thomas seems natural and reasonable to me. What he said was, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands; unless I will put my finger the wounds left by the nails; unless I will put my hand into his side…I will not believe it.” Show me the scars.

What Jesus represented and showed to the disciples to prove his resurrection was the scars on his hands and feet and all over his body, the scars and wounds he carried on—not a miracle nor a transfiguration. Yes, Jesus came in the midst of troubles and problems and stood and said, “Peace be with you.”

Here we are on Easter morning in the year of 2024. What is happening in today’s world, which seems divided and fragmented and filled with lots of scars? What is happening between Ukraine and Russia?; at the Gaza area between Palestine and Israelites? What is happening on the Southern border? And how do we digest unspeakable violence in a public area?

The good news for all of us—the Easter message of “Christ is risen, and he is risen indeed”—does not tell us about something that happened once upon a time. We gather here this morning not to listen to a fairy tale but to listen to the living word of God, speaking over Thomas’s shoulder to the rest of us, saying, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have come to believe.”

I do believe that Christ still comes and stands and says in the midst of all the messy and hard circumstances, “Hey, God’s beloved, Peace be with you.” I do believe the world still needs God’s people who can be peacemakers and who can practice God’s forgiveness and reconciliation in the name of the risen Christ. I do believe the world still needs God’s people who can be hope-spreaders and brave enough to make the door of heart open big and wide in order to welcome and love others and our neighbors, no matter what and no matter who, in the name of the risen Christ.

Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.

Thanks be to God.

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