In Lockdown With The Disciples


After the resurrection of Christ, Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus but John was the first to believe that Jesus rose from the dead without ever seeing Him. But it was Mary who ran to tell the disciples the good news.

But notice what the disciples were doing.

‘On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders.’ John 20:19

The disciples ‘are in lockdown in a house, with the doors locked.’

They were scared, they were scared of the Jews because it was the Sanhedrin who had killed the Master, and so, they might decide to kill His disciples.

Can you imagine how they must have felt?

Jesus had told them time and time again that He must die but He will rise from the grave. But now they are thinking we’ve spent all that time with Jesus, for what?

So much for Him being the Messiah. So much for Him being a great leader who’s going to drive out the Roman masses. All the promises of a new kingdom have gone.

And so, they’re afraid and it’s then that Jesus, on the first day of the week, suddenly appears among them.

‘Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again, Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:19-21

Notice how their fear is replaced with joy when Jesus appears and says, ‘peace be with you’.

He had been crucified, His corpse had been buried, yet here He was, before their eyes speaking words they had heard Him utter many times.

Everything Jesus said was going to happen concerning His death, burial and resurrection were true. At first, they simply couldn’t believe their own eyes and thought it was a spirit.

‘Startled and frightened, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.’ Luke 24:36

Then He showed them His hands and side and then He invites them to touch Him.

‘See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit, has not flesh and bones as you see me have.’ Luke 24:39

He shows His wounds and emphasises that He isn’t a ghost. And so the disciples are overjoyed that Christ is indeed who claimed to be and His words were true, but there is someone missing from the group and that is Thomas.

‘Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So, the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:24-28

Thomas is now very nervous and restless, unsure of what’s happening when the other disciples and the women tell him that they have seen the Lord.

But He isn’t convinced and demands the same evidence that they have had, he will not believe until he receives physical proof.

And notice once again, that the door is locked.

Are the disciples still scared of the Jews?

Are they still scared that they will be punished for their association with Jesus?

And notice again, that Jesus miraculously appears to them, despite the door being locked, on the first day of the week and says, ‘peace be with you’.

Jesus knew exactly what Thomas’s difficulty in accepting His resurrection was. And so, He immediately turned His attention to the doubter and gives him the physical proof required.

Though He hadn’t been present when Thomas said what he did, He knew exactly what Thomas had said, and offered His wounds for examination, precisely what Thomas had requested.

John doesn’t say he actually touches Jesus but does record that he believed because he had ‘seen’ Jesus. Thomas is now entirely convinced, and says, “My Lord and my God!”

‘Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:28-29

Thomas basically says, ‘without doubt, you are my risen Lord, and I acknowledge you as Deity!’

Jesus leaves with a great blessing on all modern Christians who have seen no miracles, no resurrected Jesus or even an apostle.

We’re blessed because we haven’t seen and yet believe.

When we think about the disciples, they were continually letting Jesus down.

They fell asleep and left Him alone during the time of His agony in the Garden.

Peter denied Him. Judas betrayed Him. Thomas doubted.

At the cross, all the disciples, except John deserted Him and fled.

Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem but what did they do? They all go back to the Sea of Galilee and return to their fishing business.

A lot of people have been in lockdown in their homes since the pandemic started. Some for obvious medical reasons, others for fear of catching the virus.

But just like Jesus knew where the disciples were, He knows where we are.

And He still says peace to you, He still says don’t be afraid, I am with you, even though you’re in your house.

Maybe like Thomas we should stop doubting and start believing.

Stay blessed, stay focused, and stay in Christ.