An Easter NO Show
“Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples said, ‘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 in His side, I will not believe.”
- John 20:24-25
Doubting Thomas. One of the most recognizable and easy to identify with figures in the Bible. We have all experienced moments, intersections, and seasons in our faith journey where doubt has crept in. We wonder WHERE God is and WHAT He is doing in our lives? We take comfort and strength in Jesus’ encounter with Thomas following the resurrection. We love how Jesus knows what Thomas is struggling with and invites him to experience the proof of life and victory! A week after Thomas made his declaration of needing to see and touch Jesus, the Living Savior enters the house, looks Thomas in the eyes, and makes a declaration of His own. In John 20:27 Jesus says, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”
As we are just days away from Easter, I began to ponder a question from this story: Why did Thomas have to wait seven days to see Jesus when everyone else got to? Now it may be that he was detained by a personal illness, family emergency or a pending business deal, so I do not want to rush to judgement. But what if Thomas just MISSED IT? What if he had other things that became his focus and priority to the point that he was no longer WITH THE OTHER DISCIPLES. When I was a youth pastor our number one rule for any event or trip was this: Be where you are supposed to be, when you are supposed to be there! It seems that Thomas could have benefited from being in my youth group. He was nowhere to be found, so by missing it he MISSED OUT on Easter.
As we get ready for our Easter services (This Sunday, April 21 at 9:00 and 10:45 am), I want to send you a personal invitation and strong encouragement to BE WITH YOUR CHURCH FAMILY THIS SUNDAY. Let’s not make the same mistake that Thomas made of not being with the others when Jesus showed up on that first Easter Sunday. Now, I totally get that “life happens”. But I also know that many of those things can wait to be addressed, are secondary in importance, and become distractions the enemy, the Devil, uses to keep us distanced from God. Please, hear this invitation and keep Easter Sunday as a “CAN’T MISS” on your calendar. I know that there may be the thought of going to a family member’s church to be with them, but unless that person (or another person in the party) is unsaved and you are going in hopes that they will give their hearts to Jesus, then let me boldly say that church visit can wait. Of course we are not striving for anyone to have perfect church attendance, nor do we want to operate from rigid spirit. But Easter Sunday is so important, too important to give up being together. If you desire to visit a family member’s church, then let me suggest Mother’s or Father’s Day…those would be great times to honor them!
Your being with the Shepherd’s House this Easter Sunday is so important to our mission of welcoming many guests, connecting them to our amazing church family, and believing for their lives to Jesus being transformed by His love and power. Here was Jesus’ final statement to Thomas in John 20:29, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Let’s not MISS the opportunity to bring an unsaved family member or friend with us to church.
Let’s not MISS the special assignment God has of who will be sitting next to us on Sunday.
Let’s not MISS the powerful work God wants to do in our lives to bring freedom and fullness.
This is what Easter is all about and that is why we can’t miss this Sunday’s amazing, life-giving celebration.