On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.
Have you ever really stopped to ask yourself, “why would so many people die for a lie; or, a delusion”? In the infancy of Christianity, many people had seen Jesus before and after His resurrection. Many had seen the Miracles personally. If they hadn’t seen them personally, they may have heard about them from a 1st or 2nd person account. Over time, those accounts became multi-generational. Around 2,000 years later, it’s good to remember at Easter what Jesus told St. Thomas, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” For most of us, we have not “seen” Jesus directly face-to-face; although, Believers would argue that we see Him every day in Miracles, Creation, and the faces of others around us. When I was just seven (7) years old, I suffocated and died. I met Jesus in Heaven personally and He spoke to me and said, “Gregg, it’s not your time. Go back.” Upon re-entering my body, I have always lived with the Blessing of having met Jesus and having seen Heaven. May this Easter Season be a reminder to us all of the empty tomb and how Jesus rose from the grave. Most of the Apostles were brutally-murdered for not renouncing Christ – they had seen Him resurrected and were willing to die for it. If you consider watching St. Paul – a murderer and persecutor of early Christians – meeting Jesus and then doing a complete 180 degree turn-around to becoming one of Jesus’ biggest advocates, it’s just amazing. That’s like Adolf Hitler going from persecuting Jews to leading them. It is estimated that by 313 A.D. almost 2 million Christians were martyred for their Belief in Jesus (and for not simply-turning from Him when given that option at their execution). It continues today with over 200,000 Christians being persecuted each year for their Faith. And, there is the answer and it’s hard to argue with that kind of Witness!