Jesus Appears to His Followers
It was the first day of the week. That evening Jesus’ followers were together. The doors were locked, because they were afraid of the Jews. Then Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you!”
After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. His followers were very happy when they saw the Lord.
Then Jesus said again, “Peace be with you! As the Father sent me, I now send you.”
After he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven. If you don’t forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Teaching guide and Explanation
JESUS APPEARS TO HIS DISCIPLES
TEXT: JOHN 20:19-29
MEMORY VERSE: Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. [John 20:29]
Jesus has risen from the dead VICTORIOUSLY! He has overcome death and sin forever! Jesus has appeared to various people. They did not recognize him immediately as he appeared to people who knew him. How could this be, we think. All right, who can name a truly famous person?
Let us claim that one day a celebrity came to our church. He/she got dressed like the rest of us all. There were no security guys around and nobody took photos. You may see the individual and think he/she looks like a well-known celebrity, but you wouldn’t believe he/she really was.
And why not? Because he/she is popular; because he/she lives in (Hollywood or wherever); because if that was really the famous person, pictures would be taken by everyone around him/her. You wouldn’t believe that it was really him/her, because it wouldn’t add up in your head. More than that all the people who loved Jesus saw Him die. He was gone, they Realized. In their eyes, three days later, there was no way he could stand before them. However, in at least one case, God intentionally prevented people from remembering Jesus.
Jesus introduced himself to Mary Magdalene. At first, she did not remember him, but when she did, she ran out to tell the disciples. Since they had not seen Him through their own eyes, they did not believe her (Mark 16:9-11, Luke 24:10-11). Then on the path to Emmaus, Jesus appeared to two of his followers. From the very beginning of the Bible, he began and clarified that he was the Messiah, the plan of God to take away the guilt of those who would believe in him. Jesus tried to make them understand the plan of God, and believe in Him.
Today, he wants the same for us.
To meet the other disciples, the two disciples rushed back and told them that Jesus was alive. Still, since they had not seen Jesus, the other disciples did not believe (Mark 16:12- 13).
JESUS APPEARS To The Disciples
Most of the original disciples of Jesus were gathered together. One of the disciples, called Thomas, was not with them, and there was no Judas, of course. The disciples locked themselves up in a space. Can anyone guess from whom they were hiding? The Pharisees or The Leaders of the Jews?
They were hiding from the leaders of the Jews who had ordered the killing of Jesus. The disciples felt they were at risk because they were Jesus’ close followers. The Roman guards, moreover, had lied and said that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus. For good cause, the disciples were afraid!
Jesus appear and stood in their midst. He said May peace be with you and then he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were very pleased when they saw the Lord. —John 20:19b-20 20:19
Wow!-Wow! Jesus came in through a closed door right away. His very first words, because his friends were afraid, were words of comfort. Jesus said again, “May peace be with you The Father has sent Me. So now I am sending you.” Lets read from the book of St John 20:21-23 and Matthew 28:18b-20 Jesus said to these men—” That Jesus will give these men is very remarkable. They had blown it up already. They did not have any strength and no bravery of their own. But on their own, Jesus was not going to send them out.
Jesus breathed on them as a warning that very soon he would give the Holy Spirit to them (Acts 2:4). It would be poured out upon them by the Holy Spirit, and it would fill their hearts, just as breath fills our lungs. Only the influence of the Holy Spirit will give them the courage they were now hiding to go OUT into the world.
Prior to this moment, for certain tasks, God’s Holy Spirit filled certain people at certain times (Mark 12:36, Luke 1:35). This was about to change, however. Soon, the Holy Spirit would be filled with ALL believers and He would NEVER leave them. Let’s look at the promises that Jesus had already made concerning the Holy Spirit to the disciples.
During the Last Supper, before Jesus was captured and taken to the cross, he told his disciples that he was about to depart from them. They were sad to hear this, but were told by Jesus not to be sad. Jesus said that He would send the Holy Spirit to them after He had left (John 16:5:7).
I’m going to ask Father a nd he’s going to send you another friend to support you, and to be forever with you. The Spirit of Truth is a Friend. He cannot be embraced by the planet. That is because he is not seen or understood by the world. But he knows you. He stays with you, and he is going to be inside you. But in my name, the father will send a friend to help you.
The Holy Spirit is a friend. He’s going to teach you everything. He’ll remind you of what I’ve said to you. The Holy Spirit would help lost people see their own sin and their need for a Savior (John 16:8-11). -John 14:16-17, 26.
Jesus instructed His followers, even before the Last Supper, not to think about what to say while they were asking others about Him, for the Holy Spirit would give them the words they wanted at the right time (Mark 13:10-11).
Let’s list the amazing promises of Jesus concerning the Holy Spirit:
– After Jesus left them, God will send the Holy Spirit
—He’d be their friend,
– He’d teach the disciples
– He will support the disciples
– He’d remind the disciples what Jesus meant
– He will convince people that they are sinners in search of a Savior.
— He’d give them the right words to say,
Jesus did not ask His followers to go on their own to make disciples. God will never ask us to do something without giving us the strength to do it.
Each of us should be encouraged that the plan of Jesus included men who had made really big mistakes. These haven’t been special men. They were ordinary individuals. They were poor at times; sometimes they lacked faith; sometimes they only thought about themselves. Come to think of it that sometimes sounds a bit like me. I’m so grateful that it’s not exactly what I have to say to Heaven! The Holy Spirit is sent by God to reside inside ALL believers (1 Corinthians 6:19). When we let the Holy Spirit direct our steps, He will use me – and you. He’s got the strength, not us!
JESUS APPEARS TO THOMAS (John 20:24-31)
Thomas had been one of the Twelve. They named him Didymus. When Jesus arrived, he wasn’t with other disciples. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 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 hand into his side, I will not believe.-John 20:24-25.
Thomas said that he had to see Jesus with his own eyes, and to feel the scars with his own hands, in order to believe that he was alive. We don’t hear a lot about Thomas, the disciple.
In fact, since this is one of the few times he has been mentioned, he has been known throughout history as the “Doubting Thomas.” Still now if a person doubts anything, he may be called the “Doubting Thomas.” We know that Jesus can read the thoughts of the people (Matthew 9:4), so let’s see what Jesus is going to do.
A week later, the disciples of Jesus were again in the building. With them was Thomas. Though the doors were shut, Jesus entered and stood between them.
Then Jesus came, and the doors were shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
Then said he unto Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
And Thomas replied and said to him, My Lord and my God. John 20:26-28.
Jesus spoke directly to Thomas as he appeared again. He instructed him to touch the scars on his side and on his hands. We do not know if Thomas really kissed the scars of Jesus. The moment he saw Jesus and heard his speech, he may have believed it.
Note the words from Thomas. Not only did he say, “Now I believe you are alive,” but he said a lot more than that. When Thomas saw that Jesus had been resurrected from the dead, it proved to him that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Thomas said, ‘My Lord and my God!’
Jesus told the apostles over and over what was going to happen before he was crucified (Matthew 17:9, Luke 9:22, 24:7). He said the chief priests would condemn him, he would be cruxified, and on the third day he will rise to life (Matthew 16:21). But, the Bible states that Jesus spoke figuratively and he was not fully understood by the apostles (John 16:17-18, 25). They listen to his words, but they did not have a clear meaning.
It’s like looking through a veil.
The disciples knew some of what Jesus had taught them, but not all. It was only after Thomas saw the living Jesus that it became apparent to him. Thomas admitted at that moment that Jesus was the Lord.
Then Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen Me but still have believed.” -John 20:29
What is Jesus worried about here? In this room, did anyone actually see Jesus in his body? Oh, no. No, we have not seen Him, for He is now in heaven (Acts 1:9). Jesus is talking about all the people who have believed in Him throughout history, from the time He left the earth until now. That’s you and me included. Since they saw Him raised from the dead, it was nice for Thomas and the disciples to believe in Jesus, but it is even BETTER for us to believe, even though we have not seen Him. There’s a word to believe in something you haven’t seen before. And what’s that word? Uh, Faith. The Bible states it is difficult to please God without faith (Heb. 1:6).
So how are we going to believe something we’ve never seen? We read the words of those people who saw him. John the Disciple wrote:
In front of his disciples, Jesus showed several other miraculous signs. In this book, they are not written down. But these (miracles) are written down in order to make you believe that Christ, the Son of God, is Jesus. You will have life if you believe this because you belong to Him. —John 20:30-31
The Bible was written for you and me. In order to explain that Jesus was the Messiah, sent by God to take away the sins of the earth, John makes it clear that he wrote the book of John. With all the incredible miracles he performed, he proved that he was who he thought he was. Yes, to believe something we’ve never seen it takes confidence. But the faith you need will be given to you by God (Ephesians 2:8). Jesus said that we will be blessed because we believe in something we haven’t seen.
Jesus came in order for people to believe in Him.