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Enjoying Life as God Intends

2019 Advent Devotional – Day 22

Jesus, the Risen Messiah

Read John 20:1-31.

We all like a happy ending in the stories that we read or movies that we watch. When movies do not end with a happy ending, there is generally a sense of incompleteness, uneasiness, or sometimes even disgust. Take the movie “Gone Girl” for example. Given how the movie ended, the ending lingers on in the minds of the audiences over the following days. There is a sense of injustice or that the story hasn’t ended yet. Contrast that with the last Harry Potter movie. The ending of that franchise feels complete and provides closure for many people. We all like a happy ending.

Jesus has been crucified. The main character of the Gospel accounts has died. Thank God that the story does not end there. There is a happy ending. In John 20:1-31, we first read about Mary and the disciples discovering the empty tomb of Jesus Christ. After that, there are three accounts of Jesus appearing to different people. Finally, at the end of the chapter, we have John (who wrote this Gospel account) stating explicitly why he wrote these things – “that [we] may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

Jesus first appears to Mary outside the tomb. She was distraught because she thought that graverobbers have taken the body of her master. She was overjoyed when Jesus addressed her. He asked her to go and tell his brothers about his coming ascension. This is the first time throughout John’s Gospel that he referred to his disciples as his brothers. It is also important to note that his Father is now also “their” Father (v17).

Jesus then appeared to his disciples miraculously when they were together. After showing them his hands and side (no doubt with crucifixion marks), he said to them, “Peace be with you!” This signifies and represents the disciples’ reconciliation back to the Father. “Peace” (Shalom in Hebrew) was also the all-embracing term that is usually used to mean unqualified well-being. With that, he also sends them out just has the Father has sent him to be his representatives on earth.

Lastly, Jesus appeared to Thomas. Often referred as Doubting Thomas, many have misinterpreted this passage as Jesus rebuking those who require evidence for faith. Jesus did not rebuke Thomas, but instead happily provides evidence to Thomas by letting him touch his crucified hands/side. Many have taken the second half of v29 as a rebuke of Thomas. However, that is not the case. Remember that Jesus sent his disciples out as his representative just before this. Thomas has seen and believed and sent out like the disciples. Thus, those people have not seen Jesus yet believes in Christ are blessed, because of Thomas’ preaching.

John wrote all these events is so that his readers may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that we will have life by believing in him. He is the risen Messiah. Do you believe that as we approach Christmas? As we celebrate his coming into this world as the Messiah, who in your life can you tell about the risen Messiah?

  • Pray that God will give us the opportunity to talk about Jesus as the risen Messiah this Christmas.
  • Pray that we recognise that God is now our Father, and Jesus is our brother because of Jesus’ resurrection.