John 20:19-31

Title: Embracing the Grace of Our Risen Lord

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.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin ), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 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.” 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.” 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.”

Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 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.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.

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. [NRSA]


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we gather to explore the message of grace that lies at the heart of our faith. The passage we will be focusing on today is John 20:19-31, an account of Jesus’ appearance to His disciples after His resurrection. In this story, we find a beautiful and powerful expression of God’s grace, and we are called to embrace this grace in our own lives.

I.             The Resurrected Christ Appears to His Disciples (John 20:19-23)

A. Grace even in Fear and Uncertainty

The disciples were gathered in a locked room, filled with fear and uncertainty after Jesus’ crucifixion. 

·     They had witnessed the violence, the humiliation, and the death of their Lord. 

·     Their faith was shaken, and they were scared for their lives.

·     Their were questioning their choice to follow Jesus.

·     They were afraid.

So it is for us, even when we are afraid, Christ is near!

In the first part of our passage, we read that the disciples were hiding in fear behind locked doors. They had just witnessed the crucifixion of their beloved teacher and friend. Suddenly, Jesus appeared in their midst, saying “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19). This miraculous event not only proves Jesus’ resurrection but also demonstrates the power of God’s grace to penetrate even the most formidable barriers, whether physical or emotional.

What is it in your life that you want to hear Jesus proclaim words of grace in your fear: “Peace be to you!”?

Jesus then showed the disciples the wounds in His hands and side, further affirming His identity. As the disciples recognized their risen Lord, their fear turned to joy. Jesus repeated His greeting, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:21), and then commissioned them with these words: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21).

What is it in your life that you want Jesus to show your faith the assurance of the resurrection and it’s grace?

Here, Jesus imparts to the disciples a mission and the authority to carry it out. He then breathed on them, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:22-23). Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, Jesus bestowed upon His followers the grace to forgive sins, a ministry that continues in the Church today.

II. The Story of Doubting Thomas (John 20:24-29)

The second part of our passage tells the well-known story of Thomas, who was not present when Jesus first appeared to the disciples. When the others shared their experience with him, Thomas insisted that he would not believe unless he saw Jesus and touched His wounds for himself (John 20:25).

Thomas becomes for us our individual confession of fear and lack of faith in the face of doubt, evil, and confusion.

A week later, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time with Thomas present. Jesus graciously invited Thomas to touch His wounds and believe (John 20:27). In response, Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

Through this encounter, Jesus demonstrates the depth of His grace. He does not condemn Thomas for his doubt; rather, He meets Thomas where he is and provides the evidence he needs to believe. This story also serves as a reminder that, despite our doubts and weaknesses, Jesus’ grace is always available to us.

III. The Purpose of John’s Gospel (John 20:30-31)

In the closing verses of our passage, John explains the purpose of his Gospel: “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31). John’s aim is to bring us into a relationship with Jesus, so we might experience the life-transforming power of His grace.

Are these the words that you need to read, hear, and proclaim for your faith and in the presence of your own fears?


The passage from John 20:19-31 calls us to embrace the grace of our risen Lord. As we reflect on Jesus’ appearance to His disciples and His encounter with Thomas, let us remember that His grace is freely offered to each of us, regardless of our doubts and imperfections.

May we open our hearts to receive the forgiveness and peace that Jesus offers, and, empowered by the Holy Spirit, become believers, full of faith!


Let us Pray.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: