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Friday, November 8, 2019

2019.11.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 20:19-25

Questions from the Scripture text: What day was this (John 20:19)? What time of day was it? What had the disciples done to the door? Why? What was Jesus able to do anyway? What does He say? What does He show them in John 20:20? How do the disciples now respond? Again, in John 20:21, how does Jesus greet them? What does He say that He is doing to them? What does He do to them in John 20:22? What does He say? What does He say, in John 20:23, is one result of His sending them as apostles and giving them the Spirit for this task? Who was not with them (John 20:24)? What did the other disciples say to him (John 20:25)? But what does he say to them?
In the next couple passages, we have first-day-Sabbath meetings between Jesus and the congregation (“assembled”—John 20:19, except in some critical text manuscripts). One wise pastor once commented with reference to Thomas in John 20:24, “see what you miss, and what attitudes you may develop, if you miss evening worship on the Lord’s Day?”

When we are assembled, Jesus reminds us of His power. He no longer physically walks through locked doors (John 20:19), but He does present Himself by means of His Word and sacraments to His people who may at that very moment be huddling for fear of their enemies on earth. He reminds us, thereby, that He is the King of heaven and earth. “When I am afraid, I will trust in You, in God whose Word I praise. In God I trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4).

When we are assembled, Jesus declares to us His peace. Twice He says this in this text, in John 20:19John 20:21. Not until they see His hands and side does John 20:20 tell us that “the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord”—so let us not be too hard on Thomas about his doubts. And this gladness is sandwiched between two declarations that He and His Father are for them and not against them—an alliance and identifying and help that have been secured by those wounds.

When we are assembled, we are gladdened by the glimpse that we receive of the Lord. Like the Greeks who came to Andrew, we are to come to corporate worship asking that we would see Jesus. What else is there that believers think they could desire out of corporate worship? This is the main thing: to be gladdened by the sight of the Lord.

When we are assembled, we are commissioned. No—not the same commission by which Christ is the apostle of God unto us (“As the Father has sent Me,” John 20:21, cf. Hebrews 3:1), and by which the disciples become the apostles of Christ unto the world (“I also send you,” John 20:21, cf. Matthew 28:18-20). Yet, He does leave us in the world as set apart unto God, as we heard Him praying for us in John 17:13-21.

Finally, when we have been assembled, let us be eager to tell others of the glory that we have seen and the goodness that we have enjoyed in our time together in assembly with the Lord. It may be that others will respond with resistance, as Thomas does when the disciples tell him in John 20:25. And it may also be that this is the first step in the Lord overcoming that resistance, as He does in the following passage!
What do you expect out of the Lord’s Day assemblies? How do you prepare for them?
Suggested songs: ARP100 “All Earth with Joy” or TPH153 “O Day of Rest and Gladness”

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