Talk and Meditation plus video 16th April 2023

Reading John 20 19-31

At Breakfast church at Sark Methodist we showed a video and had a short talk and discussion. The etxt and video are included below, then a meditation on Thomas used in the sermon at St Peter's;

During Lent, we’ve been following Jesus through John’s gospel. We’ve seen what have become know as the signs, in that gospel, the signs of just who Jesus is, the last one being, if you remember the raising of Lazarus., and, as in our messy Church series, we have heard the statements from Jesus- I am the bread of life, the light of the world, the door, the good shepherd, the true vine, the way the truth and the life and , of course, the resurrection and the life.

In our reading later on, we hear from John again, as Thomas struggles, having not seen the risen Jesus with the other disciples. But before we hear that, hear the certainty that those I am statements bring to our faith, to the gospel we proclaim in this powerful piece of spoken word…..

Video- Spoken Word. I am


There were seven “I am” statements in John’s gospel, and seven signs that lead the reader to discover just who Jesus is, the Son of God. The significance of seven in the culture of the day was that it signified completion. The Hebrew consonants for seven are the same for those of full or complete, and, of course, there are seven days to the week in creation, the last being the day of rest.

But really, here in Jesus’ appearance to the disciples, there is an eighth sign. The risen Jesus himself, the final embodiment, if you like of the “I am”, first used by God as he said to Moses who asked what God should be called and receives the reply “I am who I am”. Indeed here he is the resurrection and the life, but the sign is his appearance, to the disciples and , of course, to Thomas who has become, perhaps unfairly, known as doubting Thomas.

But as much as thee was doubt, John, through all the signs and the I am’s, as the careful and observant reader has been led through all that, John brings us to that climatic exclamation from the greatest known doubter of all time “My Lord and my God”.

That final revelation that Jesus is not simply the Son of God he is God, that complex intricacy of the Trinity we have come to understand in the three in one of Father Son and Spirit, one God, one “I am”.

And the revelation of that comes not from Peter or John even, but from him accused of doubt, Thomas.

When we hear the intensity of the gospel through such passion as the piece of spoken word we herd this morning, it is easy to feel somehow, less able to express ourselves, to doubt our ability to tell of the risen Christ, the great I am to  others. We don’t have the words, the ability, the confidence, even perhaps we feel we don’t have a strong enough faith.

Yet if Thomas, with all his doubts and fears could recognise his Lord and God, what confidence that can give us, who may not have seen the risen Lord, but we know him, we feel him, we experience him, we know his Holy Spirit and we see his love through the actions of others to us and to the world.

Will you have that confidence, in the knowledge of the resurrection we have just celebrated, to reveal to others the signs and the “I am’s”, to tell of the gospel as John did, and to declare, like Thomas, “My Lord and my God”?

Meditation; Not doubting

They call me doubting Thomas. Fair enough, I guess, but they’re missing the point. Entirely. It wasn’t about what I doubted- it was about Him.

That day after Mary and the other women had rushed to tell us the tomb was empty, and then, Mary said she’s seen him, well, can you even begin to imagine how we felt?

The authorities, especially the Sanhedrin were furious, convinced we’d stolen the body, sent their soldiers to every street, every place we’d been known to meet, determined to prove we’d stolen the body, determined to scotch the rumour that was spreading, about him being alive.

To be honest, we all had our doubts, and fears. Yes, Mary, in all her dedication and faith, you could see it in her eyes, she had really seen him.

But none of us had.

Peter and John, they’d seen the empty grave, after that none of us dared go there, for fear of arrest by the extra guards posted there after that morning.

So we hid, not in the usual places, Mary knew a room, a secure room, hidden away. We locked ourselves in, petrified at every footstep outside, every shout. If they’d found us, we’d likely go the same way he had. The other’s reminded me it was I that said, after Lazarus was raised, "Let’s go with Jesus and die with him, if need be". And it looked like that might be the case- words said in bravado, but… well I wasn’t so sure now.

And then…. I’d gone out for some water, someone had to, and I was less recognisable than Peter or John, they locked me out, and I ran to the well, down the back roads, avoiding the main street and returned, carrying the heavy water jar back, knocking the door with my foot as I got back. It opened so fast I almost fell through, nearly dropped the jar.

“We’ve seen him, we’ve seen him” they exclaimed.

I thought they were having me on, I mean, how would he have known where to come, for starters. I thought they were still annoyed at me saying we should die with him.

I scoffed, said something about not believing unless I saw the wounds, touched them, felt them, some physical proof. But they were insistent, and I suddenly felt this great emptiness, a void in my life- why not me too, why had he chosen to come when I wasn’t there? Was I so unimportant, did he not love me as the others?

The despair stayed with me, deepened over the days that followed, my fear of the authorities combined with that black darkness raging through my mind, obliterating all other thought. I was inconsolable, even Mary and the women couldn’t reach past my despair.

When he came back to that room the next week, by then I had almost lost my mind. Afterwards, the others made a lot of him asking me to touch the wounds, like I’d said,  of him saying not to doubt anymore ( -How had he known I’d even said that?).

But it wasn’t those words that mattered.

It was the first words he said, in that calm, familiar, strong voice as he appeared in the room.

“Peace be with you”

All that despair, that horrendous blackness and emptiness, that fear just evaporated in an instant. And suddenly I knew his peace, that surety, that absolute love, that knowledge that not even the blackness of death could withstand his power.

And I knew. I didn’t need to reach into his wounds, as raw as they still looked. I knew.

“My Lord and my God”, the words just came out.

There hadn’t really been any doubt, just fear and despair and emptiness, and missing him. But his peace was overwhelming, and like no other. The peace of God.

And I knew he would always be with me.

And all people. Forever.

“Peace be with you”. Remember that, not my doubt. Because you can be totally sure, he’ll grant you that.


©David Stolton 2023