The Believers Share
32 The group of believers were joined in their hearts, and they had the same spirit. No person in the group said that the things he had were his own. Instead, they shared everything. 33 With great power the apostles were telling people that the Lord Jesus was truly raised from death. And God blessed all the believers very much. 34 They all received the things they needed. Everyone that owned fields or houses sold them. They brought the money 35 and gave it to the apostles. Then each person was given the things he needed.
1 John 1:1-2:2
God Forgives Our Sins1 We write you now about something that has always existed.
We have heard.
We have seen with our own eyes.
We have watched,
and we have touched with our hands.
We write to you about the Word[a] that gives life. 2 He who gives life was shown to us. We saw him, and we can give proof about it. And now we tell you that he has life that continues forever. The one who gives this life was with God the Father. God showed him to us. 3 Now we tell you what we have seen and heard because we want you to have fellowship with us. The fellowship we share together is with God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to you so that we may be full of joy.[b]
5 Here is the message we have heard from God and now tell to you: God is light,[c] and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 So if we say that we have fellowship with God, but we continue living in darkness, then we are liars. We do not follow the truth. 7 God is in the light. We should live in the light, too. If we live in the light, we share fellowship with each other. And when we live in the light, the blood of the death of Jesus, God’s Son, is making us clean from every sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins. We can trust God. He does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrongs we have done. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, then we make God a liar. We do not accept God’s true teaching.
Jesus Is Our Helper2 My dear children, I write this letter to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have Jesus Christ to help us. He is the Righteous One. He defends us before God the Father. 2 Jesus died in our place to take away our sins. And Jesus is the way that all people can have their sins taken away, too.
Jesus Appears to His Followers19 It was the first day of the week. That evening Jesus’ followers were together. The doors were locked, because they were afraid of the Jews. Then Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. His followers were very happy when they saw the Lord.
21 Then Jesus said again, “Peace be with you! As the Father sent me, I now send you.” 22 After he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven. If you don’t forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Jesus Appears to Thomas24 Thomas (called Didymus) was not with the followers when Jesus came. Thomas was 1 of the 12. 25 The other followers told Thomas, “We saw the Lord.”
But Thomas said, “I will not believe it until I see the nail marks in his hands. And I will not believe until I put my finger where the nails were and put my hand into his side.”
26 A week later the followers were in the house again. Thomas was with them. The doors were locked, but Jesus came in and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand here in my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you see me. Those who believe without seeing me will be truly happy.”
Why John Wrote This Book30 Jesus did many other miracles before his followers that are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you can believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Then, by believing, you can have life through his name.
So we all know what happened on Good Friday and Easter. If I asked you to tell me the story, you could say most of what happened. Jesus died and then Jesus came back. Those are the basic facts, but I think it leads to two questions: what does that mean, and what happened next?
The meaning is something that people have spent entire lifetimes discussing and explaining and I don’t think we have that mind of time right now, so I want to go after the other question, what happened next? On Easter Sunday, Mary went to Jesus’ tomb and found it empty, she talked to someone there that she thought was the gardener, but it was really Jesus. So what then? Did Jesus go back to the temple to teach, did he show up at Pilate’s home to scare him, did he go visit his mother and family?
Well we aren’t told all the details, but John tells us that on the first day of the week, which he probably means the night of Easter, most of the apostles were locked in a room together hiding. You see they were afraid that the crowds of people who called for Jesus’ to die, and made fun of him while he was dying, would come after them. They were probably still very upset, confused and maybe even angry. Here we have people who left their families, walked away from their jobs to follow Jesus. They went cold and hungry to follow Jesus and to teach his message, and now Jesus was dead and there were people out roaming the streets who wanted to kill them too! You have to remember that only Mary knew Jesus was no longer dead at this point. She saw him in the garden and went looking for the disciples to tell them, but as they were all hiding in a room with the doors locked, she couldn’t find them. But guess who did, Jesus.
Right there in the middle of group, Jesus suddenly appeared. I’m not sure I can imagine what that would have been like. John tells us that Thomas was not with the group, and doubted their story that Jesus appeared to them. It is no wonder that he did, it sounds like even the disciples who were there had trouble believing what they were seeing. Jesus didn’t just appear, he had to tell the disciples to settle down, “Peace be with you” he said. I wonder if they were shouting and cheer, or simply scared and screaming. Either way, the disciples were excitable, but Jesus didn’t just speak to them, “he showed them his hands and his side.” Jesus does to the disciples exactly what Thomas demands as proof one week later. Thomas is the one who is called the doubter, but it sounds like some of these present in the upper room had some questions too, and Thomas wasn’t locked away hiding. John doesn’t tell us, but I always wonder where Thomas was while everyone else was together.
Now there is a lot more that Jesus did after his resurrection, but this first night, I think, really shows what was important. Jesus didn’t appear to the rulers, or the priests. He did not appear in the Temple or the center of Jerusalem. No big spectacle was made to show his enemies what he did. No, Jesus appeared in a dark, locked, windowless room to a group of scared people who already believed in him. On that first Easter night, Jesus wasn’t about revenge, or even glory. Jesus went to his friends and comforted them. “Peace be with you,” he said. I am here, it is okay.