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.”
The Gospel here can be a peculiar one to many. In the Spirit of “doing things for us”, Jesus shows His Disciples His Hands and His Side and then He breathes on them. Again, to many, that can seem a bit odd? Everyone already knew that Jesus had been tortured and then crucified, so why does He feel compelled to show Them His Hands and Side? Isn’t the very Presence of Jesus in the room enough to convince Them that it’s Him? And, why does He have to breathe on Them to give Them the Holy Spirit? Can’t He just say it while He moves on to the forgiving and/or retaining of sins part? The answer is pretty simple and Jesus did things like this “for us” throughout His three-year Ministry on earth. It was for us in order for us to Believe. Remember, He didn’t need to call-out to Heaven to His Father when raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41-42). The Bible is full of examples of the Miracles and Life of Jesus. They are there for our Belief per John 20:31 who, when he wrote line 31, had just finished writing about Jesus telling “Doubting Thomas”, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”. Jesus knew that we needed “Signs and Wonders” in order to Believe (John 4:48). We needed them in His day (even when He was standing right in front of folks doing all kinds of Miracles) and we definitely still need them today. While some of us have the Faith of a child, most of us do not. Doubt creeps in like a demonic snake in the grass slithering its way into our minds. We need constant reminders of God’s Love and Jesus’ Grace and Mercy. That’s one of the biggest reasons why folks display Crucifixes in their homes – to remember and never forget. So, when things are getting “choppy” for us in life, it is important for us to focus on Him and remember what He’s already done for us. You see, we can never fall-out of Grace with God; we have to give our Grace away. By keeping our minds and lives very active in Him, we are ensuring that we won’t ever get too far away from His shore. So, like Peter did when the resurrected Jesus called him to shore from the sea (in John 21), we should always look to Him on His Eternal Shore and leap at the chance for His Love and Affection.