John 20:19-29 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[a] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” 24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
We are leading up to Easter by looking at events that actually happened after the resurrection. This single event was the most significant event in recorded history:Jesus rising from the dead.
There had been no studies, no research, no understanding, and no calculated risk assessment as to how or why this type of thing happened. On one side, they were calculating how to cover up something they never dreamed would happen, while on the other they were processing what this meant for their future and safety. They knew everything had changed and not sure if it was for the better. What they needed to know, very soon, was if He had changed.
1. Experience changes us.
Every person on the planet is different today than they were 1 year ago. Experience changes us either for the good or bad.
Romans 5:2 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
2 Corinthians 2:5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Every disciple was a different person after the crucifixion, and they changed again 3 days later. Experience changes what we believe, how we believe and if we continue to believe. As difficult as it is to change, it is equally difficult not to change.
The crucifixion of Christ had changed the disciples. They were living in great fear, and the resurrection did not immediately give any of them a boost of confidence. “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews… “
Jesus’ conversations with the disciples after the resurrection were not about a great new experience he had; they were to comfort his followers that he had not changed.
2. Experiences never change God.
James 1:16-17 16 Do not be deceived my beloved brothers 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Malachi 3:6 6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
Jesus was not overwhelmed by his resurrection. He was not like a person experiencing something for the first time who cannot wait to inform their friends with all the details and assuring them that the experience had changed them forever.
Jesus was spending his post-resurrection time proving to all his followers that he indeed had not changed. He was still the same Jesus. Not a new, better, version of the Jesus they knew, but the same exact Jesus who had been nailed to the cross to die.
It seems for the majority of the disciples, Jesus’ first appearance to them in the room was enough to convince them that he was indeed alive and he was the same. Thomas has an opportunity to go along or demand an investigation. He chooses the latter.
3. The same experience that changes you will prove that God hasn’t.
Thomas demands a forensic finding for proof that the messiah has risen.
But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
Eight days after the resurrection, Thomas has an experience that would change him forever. This encounter would prove to him that Jesus had not changed.
Every time we change, it is more proof that God doesn’t. We are becoming “like,” and the person we are becoming like is not a moving target. The most difficult times in our lives are when we discover that His love for us has not changed, his care for us has not changed, and His ability to save us has not changed.