April 22, 2001

John 20:19-31

Later on that [first] day [of the week], the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you." Then he showed them his hands and side.

The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: "Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you."

Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. "Receive the Holy Spirit," he said. "If you forgive someone's sins, they're gone for good. If you don't forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?"

But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, "We saw the Master."

But he said, "Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won't believe it."

Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you."

Then he focused his attention on Thomas. "Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don't be unbelieving. Believe."

Thomas said, "My Master! My God!"

Jesus said, "So, you believe because you've seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing."

Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

<The Message >


1. Mary Magdalene is instructed not to touch. Thomas is invited to touch. Again we are beyond rules and regulations. Jesus seems to meet people where they are and to assist folks to move beyond. There are all manner of folks with their proclivities and experiences. May you help folks deal with where they are and help them move beyond to even better blessings.

This is not to suggest that some head faith is better than some body faith and that if we can simply get the right doctrine we will have it made. It is to suggest that we need to also remember the tradition that Thomas became the great missionary to India.

What questions do you need responded to before you, too, can move on to greater blessings?

2. "... I kept running up against the triad that is described in Enneagram literature as the middle of the body (gut), head, and heart.... The triad appears most clearly in the three figures of Peter, Thomas, and Mary Magdalen, who when they meet the resurrected Lord reveal their character by their typical ways of reacting and responding: jumping the gun/facing the crucial question (Peter, in John 21:15-18, "Do you love me?"), running away/accepting the invitation (Thomas in John 20:24-29, "Put your finger here"), clinging to others/freeing oneself and turning to others (Mary Magdalen, in John 20:17, "Do not hold me, but go to my brethren and say...")....

The typical defensive posture of this center is the flight that can lead to a breakdown of contact: with other (FIVE), oneself (SIX), or with God (SEVEN). It has a tendency to retreat. But this sort of survival attitude becomes superfluous and hurtful once the level of life-in-abundance is reached in the encounter with Jesus. The defensiveness that appears in the head center can perhaps be characterized as "cool." It manifests itself in the posture of retreat, doubt, and superficiality. Such individuals also meet Jesus and have good experiences when they face him instead of backing off and taking flight. The woman who touches Jesus's garment (Matt. 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34; Luke 8:43-48) immediately experiences a cure. When Jesus comes up against this hesitant attitude, he makes a point of encouraging the person through an urgent invitation to touch and to confess their own experience. The key is not that he touches them, but that he encourages the person to dare touching on their own. At the meeting with Thomas (John 20:24-29) Jesus shows how the reaction of flight and cool resistance is overcome and how the energy contained in this self-protective posture can be set free: by accepting the invitation to find the sought-for security through contact. Convincing oneself by touching: This is the response that makes real relationships and communication possible."

from "The Enneagram and the Bible" by Wolfgang Muller in Experiencing the Enneagram

3. In this congregation we will be having a guest for the morning. Bob Franke, nationally known folk-song writer and singer, will bring the message of the day in song and word. You can find out more about Bob and his music at http://www.bobfranke.com I hope you will order some of his music and hear him when he is near you.

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