The Risen Jesus walks in on his friends and shows his wounds

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1 The Risen Jesus walks in on his friends and shows his wounds John 20:19-31 April 2014 John 20:19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you. 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you. 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. 24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told 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 in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe. 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you. 27 Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe. 28 Thomas answered him, My Lord and my God! 29 Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe. 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. Today s(gospel( ( Resurrection(Appearances( Intro: This Gospel reading comes at the end of a first long day of surprises as in John s account of the Resurrection Appearances through chapter How do the facts of the Resurrection story build up? a. Stone sealing the tomb was found to be rolled away, b. Jesus body was gone from tomb, c. Mary Magdalene was saying she had met Jesus in the garden as he spoke to her This was all on the third day after seeing him arrested and executed. It was too much to take in at once. 1 1 In v. 9, after registering the tomb of Jesus being empty, we are told that they did not understand the scriptures telling that He must rise from the dead.

2 2. So what do you do when developments overwhelm? In this case: The two male disciples Peter & John go home to sit quietly or try to sleep. 2 The female disciple Mary Magdalene stays where she is to weep with the tension and emotion of it all. 3. This is where today s Gospel reading comes in as the sun was going down on that day. The scene is a securely locked room of frightened, confused and unhappy men and perhaps some women all disciples of Jesus. a. They were afraid of the Jews so they had secured the room. The reference to the Jews is not to the Jewish People but to the local Jerusalem Authorities and their militia or armed police force. 2 They had arrested Jesus and the disciples now feared being rounded up as accessories to Jesus. b. They were confused because they did not know what to make of the few facts they were clear on such as the empty tomb let alone what Mary Magdalene was telling them about meeting the Lord. 3 c. They were somewhat traumatized. This was now just three full days since everything they had believed Jesus for had turned into the biggest nightmare ever and they were not seeing light. 4. Into this locked room of fear, confusion and traumatized unhappiness, contained comes the risen Jesus. Let s focus on what he says and does. a. He physically stands among them. i. This was outreach and hospitality, friendship, proximity, solidarity, availability. b. He speaks a greeting we know well: Peace be with you. i. It s the standard greeting of his people: Shalom. - May your life be full, healthy and without violence and strife and may you live well and long. We practice that before communion. So far that is all fairly familiar to us. We do similar stuff, sometimes with commitment and other times without thinking about it as a mere formality. But then he does something we are much less likely to do: c. He shows them his wounds, specifically his hands/wrists and his side. 4 2 A comparable example is how we might speak about Russians in Eastern Ukraine today when referring to the Kremlin led by Putin and the power of Moscow. 3 See v.9 on how they did not understand the scriptures concerning the resurrection. 4 There is no mention of his feet.

3 3 First Reflection: For a long time I read this as part of the Resurrection Appearances was where Jesus was showing his disciples that this was really him and we get to learn something of what resurrection will be like. No one saw it happen but there were many sightings afterwards that inform our hope that if we die with him we will also rise like Him. In showing them his wounds he affirmed that: Those nails were for real and that cross really killed Him, His scars are forever, (No make over in resurrection!) It really-really is the same Jesus, not a copy, nor a reproduction. o This was the man seen to die on the cross three days before. All that remains true and very important but recently I have become aware of something else that Jesus modeled for us in this particular Resurrection encounter. It's the way he comes amongst his friends and builds relationship in the resurrection community. Here is Christ victorious over the powers of sin and death, meeting his friends and what does he do? He shows them his deep wounds. He shows them the evidence of where his life was been marked and broken by suffering. This is one of those things Jesus does that reveals again how different he is and how different God really is. This is not what people normally do either within the Christian fellowship or living in the world. Jesus comes to his friends who are confused, afraid and hurting and after drawing close and greeting them he shows them the marks of his agony. What we are more likely to do is greet people, perhaps stand with them, but keep our wounds covered and hidden and talk about anything but our pain. Jesus puts them out there. These wounds are part of who is and always will be and have painful memories attached to them that will never go away even if they are bound in love.

4 4 It seems that Jesus owns his wounds and sees them as an opportunity to build healing fellowship with those he wants to reach from the other side of Resurrection. His wounds are now offered as invitations to intimacy. They are not presented as personal defects or embarrassments to be hidden away from his friends who are themselves also wounded in various ways. Thomas was not there and a week later he will show Thomas these marks of his agony to assure him that the talk about Jesus being raised was true. Reflection Application What to do with this insight? 1. If you want to build fellowship with the Risen Lord Jesus, I suggest we look at his wounds and show him our wounds. We had an opportunity to do that at the Good Friday service but it needs to be an ongoing mode of relating. a. Showing our wounds not only builds fellowship but b. It creates a place where Christ the wounded one ministers to us and our wounds. i. Otherwise the relationship is like as if we go to the doctor but then refuse to undress or reveal our symptoms! c. Is part of how we become available to Him, even in our woundedness. 2. Then if you want to build true and healthy fellowship with those you love show your wounds and the pain that they represent is part of the process. This is what all meaningful Christian relationships should include. Jesus did this among friends and people he trusted. I think that sets the pattern for the sort of fellowship the risen Jesus prefers. Let me ask: Do you accept what I have said so far? Green light? Orange light? Red Light? If you are Green, go to it! If you are Orange or Red let s explore a little more. The modern growth of Psychology has made us more and more aware of what we as people actually do with our wounds and any associated pain. Whatever our wounds or pain might be people seem to follow similar patterns.

5 5 Ways%people%avoid% showing%their%wounds.% % I ll outline the three big tendencies. 1. There is suppression and burial This involves pushing the pain down so far that we might forget and no one will see. This is often to avoid the associated pain of shame. Totally covered up this wound and its pain will be contained and I can forget it. i. This is like what happened at Chernobyl casing the hot radio-activity in thick concrete hoping that it will contain the radiation forever. b. However, suppressing pain and covering wounds this way does not seem to work. Our wounds are part of us and the associated pain has a life of its own. Denial and burial do not create the freedom from pain sought for. c. Showing our wounds and pain to the Lord Jesus and trusted ones as Jesus with skin on can allow us to bring the buried pain to the surface for healing. That takes wisdom, faith and courage. i. This is the most common response that locks people into their shame and maintains sin s oppressive power in their lives. ii. Illustration of 1990 Peach tree transplant. 2. So a wound that is covered or a pain that is buried alive is not a dead - far from it. Instead it continues to influence our life in some way as part of the cycle of sin, even if we are totally the victim in it all. Two of the most noted ways buried pain seeks an outlet are Transference and Projection. A. Transference is shifting the associated circumstances of the pain onto something or someone else. 5 Buried pain and hidden wounds cause people to transfer is ways that are not intentional or not even conscious. That is when it becomes destructive for all concerned. A simple but common scenario is taking conflict generated in the work context home to the family or vice versa. The pain is caused in the employment context but responded to in the home context. This is transference where the pain caused by one person is attributed as coming from another. This may be conscious or not. A Personal Illustration: Childhood exploitation of transference; Brendan and Peter; 5 Transference is a misapplication of a wonderful human ability to shift significance from one thing to another. We do this at communion every time we say Jesus words: This is my body over bread and This is my blood over wine. That is intentional and positive processing.

6 6 While my personal example was almost consciously dishonest that is not usually the case even though the explanation given is not true. In most cases it happens without much awareness. As a pastor I have seen this powerfully at work in Church communities. It is a powerful process sometimes at work in entire nations too. We may have big problems but if we do well in sport all is declared well. o The positive achievement is transferred. We have problems with complex causes but one group is made to be the sole cause. o Scape-goating is an exercise in transference. My experience is that the pain people describe is real but the story, context or explanation they give may not be. That creates a lot of room for what I call discernment of tears. The tears are real but what is the real story? The biggest single indicator to me that someone s pain is being associated or transferred from somewhere else into the present context is the level of energy involved. If a small problem is responded to as a major disaster I wonder why and suspect transference is involved. B. The second common way people process hidden wounds or buried pain is Projection. Rather than deal with or process the pain in one s own being people try to deal with it as they imagine it in someone else. We project our issue onto another and even magnify it. I think this is what Jesus was talking out in this scripture: Luke 6:41-43 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye, when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye. Projection is a modern term for this but Jesus was onto it long ago. To answer Jesus question, Why do people do this? Because it seems less difficult and costly than facing up to our own pain let alone showing it to Jesus or our Christian brothers and sisters.

7 Application and Conclusion 7 What%about%us?% Pain and wounded-ness are part of life, everyone s life. The question is whether we hide that or allow Jesus to see it. If we aspire to be a community of his disciples then something of this needs to be in our interaction too. At this point some of us may be looking for cover! Living with our own pain is one thing, having people tell us in techno-colour detail about theirs and the thought of people posturing as victims feeding on attention is not at all appealing. That is why even church people who love the Lord prefer to keep it buried inside and suffer quietly. We can do this too but we will pay a price. Bringing this all into the room: As an International Church and there is one characteristic wound strongly present among us: I name it as dislocation : It involves the consequences of being transplanted from what was home to where we are now. For some of us this has been a multiple experience as we moved repeatedly. Dislocation is a big part of why we are the church we are. In our mobile adventure we look for places of ease and support where we can speak and pray in ways that are at least accessible if not familiar. There is a background stress and grief among us born of being here but knowing remembering there. Bits of us are around the globe. Speaking for myself, I find it difficult to have a daughter in Australia, a son in Scotland, a father and brothers in New Zealand and a sister in England. That dislocation is typical of this church. If you are native born and raised Dutch your experience of this may be limited to coming into this place where Normaal and Normal are not the same. You cannot expect normaal to apply inside this building and that can be surprising but probably not wounding. This pain may connect with a more primal pain that many if not most of us experience in forms of

8 8 loneliness. Loneliness. Again what do we do with this? If we keep it all a secret yet expect someone to minister to this pain that expectation will be disappointed. We may judge people for not easing our secret loneliness as if they should know. This is a recipe for resentment. On the other hand it may be a wound we can recognize and share both with the Risen Lord and others simply for the sake of being known at a level that facilitates true healing. Close: So back to the locked room with the risen Jesus appearing to his disciples. Jesus showing his wounds is embodying the scripture spoken through Isaiah and echoed by Jesus Isaiah 42:3 & Matthew 12:20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not quench The Lord knew his wounds would be respected and he will respect and heal ours.

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