A Pattern of Peace
by Doy Moyer
John 20:18-21 shows an important pattern. Jesus was raised up from the grave and first appeared to Mary Magdalene then to the disciples (sans Thomas). Notice the pattern:
- Mary to the disciples: “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18).
- The disciples to Thomas: “We have seen the Lord” (John 20:25).
Jesus offers peace in John 20:19, 26 and shows proof of bodily resurrection in John 20:20, 27. Knowing who Jesus is brings peace.
- After seeing the proof, Mary says, “Rabboni” (John 20:16). She knew.
- After seeing the proof, the disciples rejoiced (John 20:20). They knew.
- After seeing the proof, Thomas says, “My Lord and My God” (John 20:28). He knew.
Now see the movement in John 20:19-23 from fear to peace, then the movement in John 20:24-28 from doubt to peace. Jesus relieves both fear and doubt and provides a blessing for the disciples (the Holy Spirit, John 20:22) and then for those who have not seen Him but can still believe (John 20:29). This leads directly into John’s purpose as expressed in John 20:30-31. They saw Jesus directly; we see Him indirectly. But the effect is the same: life in His name.
Peace. Proof. Blessing. John shows how we, too, can partake of these, but we, like Thomas, need to see the driving point of the identity of Jesus. From John 1 to the end, John shows us the divine Jesus, God in the flesh, who commands our complete commitment as Lord, yet having died for us so that, believing, we may have life in His name.