North East Circuit of IM Churches

Devotional for Sunday 11th April 2021

This devotional for Sunday 11th April has been produced by the North East Circuit for use in their churches, and is made available for any churches/individuals who would like to use it this weekend.

Introduction

As many prepare for further unlocking tomorrow, we gather on the Sunday after Easter Day, Low Sunday, and consider once more the actions and statements of Thomas, who so often reminds us of ourselves.


Bible Reading – John 20: 24 – 29

Jesus Appears to Thomas
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though 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; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”


Hymn – I serve a Risen Saviour


Reflection

Much speculation has been made as to the whereabouts of Thomas that first Easter Day!  Where he was and who he was with is not ours to know but at some point in the week that followed Easter Day, Thomas had heard the news, “We have seen the Lord” (v 25).  Again, the immediate response of Thomas is not known other than a week later Thomas is found to be in the safety and company of the other disciples.

What an encouragement to note that in the midst of turmoil and sorrow that Thomas is once again in fellowship with the others.

That following Sunday saw Jesus appear once more to the disciples and acting so graciously John records that Jesus made a bee-line for Thomas.

Not to provoke humiliation or to give a telling off, but the offer of grace. Yes, Thomas may have declared his initial unbelief, words which I am sure Thomas later came to regret but Ryle suggests that Jesus timed his visit at a time when none of the apostles were missing. Ryle goes on to say “How kind and merciful Christ is to dull and slow believers!”

And what an encouragement that is to us. That despite the unbelief of Thomas Jesus is ever faithful. We know the story so well. Jesus commands Thomas to touch the wounds, but Thomas rejects the invitation and instead declares Jesus to be “My Lord and my God”

What a turn around. Not needing to physically touch the wounds, seeing was enough for Thomas. A privilege that is not afforded to us.

But Jesus included you and me when He visited the disciples that night, for Jesus went on to say, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

We are blessed, those of us who believe and may that encourage us as we seek to serve the Risen Lord Jesus in this day and age. As we head (slowly) out of lockdown and prepare ourselves to declare the reality of the Risen Lord Jesus wherever we are called into the service of God.


Prayer

O God our Heavenly Father, we thank you for people like Thomas who in so many ways was just like us.

Thank you that Scripture contains so many examples to encourage us in our walk and service with You.

Help us appreciate just how blessed we are having not seen yet have believed.

Help us share the Good News of the Risen Lord Jesus far and wide to this needy world in which we live.

Help us play our part in the life of our nation, prepared to answer questions and to give reasons when asked.

We pray for those who mourn, including Her Majesty the Queen and her family. Like many they experience the grief and the sorrow that comes from losing a loved One. Comfort them we pray, speak into their situation through your people we pray offering the hope and comfort that You alone can bring.

Continue to be with our decision makers and leaders as we tread this slow road out of lockdown and restrictions.

Help us find our feet as a nation as businesses and services resume their activities and enable the right help and support to be available to those for whom continuing their business is no longer an option or probability.

And as we worship you this day, Low Sunday, may be know and experience the encouragement of gathering together either in-person, online or even remotely to declare the truth that “He Walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.”

May the honour and the glory be Yours and Yours alone.

Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer


Benediction

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and forever.  Amen.