Make Room for Miracles, Part 2:
A Miracle of Healing

April 11, 2010

The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor

Montgomery United Methodist Church

 

 John 20: 19-31

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
23  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
25  So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe."
26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing."
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name. Bible Text

 

 

This morning we are continuing our sermon series with: Make Room for Miracles, Part 2.

 

Do you need healing in your life?  Do you know someone who does?  This morning, we are talking about a person in the Gospel who needed healing in his life, and Jesus brought it to him. In the Gospel today we hear these words from the Lord, Jesus. 

Thomas, you believe because you have seen.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet, believe.

 I went to ten different Bible translations to try and wrap my mind around the word, blessed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet, believe, what does that mean? Most of the translations I found just use the word blessed, but I love what Eugene Peterson said in the "Message" Translation of the Bible. He said, Greater blessings than these are in store for those who have not seen and yet believe. Jesus is talking about you and me! We have not seen exactly as Thomas did, but we believe in our hearts. We believe that there is more to life than what meets the eye or what can be touched. Are you that kind of person? Of course you are--that is why you are here today. Or possibly that is the part of faith that you are struggling with or contending with. When I see a person struggling or contending with faith, I believe that Jesus is knocking at their door, rattling the doorknob, and that is why they are asking questions. Jesus is near, my friends. There is more to life than meets the eye.

 

Letís be the people who believe. Even though we have not seen exactly as Thomas did or touched exactly as Thomas did, yet we believe. Great blessings are in store for us who make room for a miracle. 

 

There is a movie out called, Avatar. Does any one who has seen it remember what greeting phrase was used as a greeting by the inhabitants of that imaginary planet? The phrase was, I see you. Isnít that a beautiful blessing? To look at someone and say, I see you, I recognize that you are a person and that we are connecting and recognizing each other. The people of India have a marvelous phrase that is similar. The phrase is Namaste, which means the divinity within me salutes the divinity within you. The highest within me, salutes the highest within you, it is a beautiful phrase.

 

Thomas is in a difficult position, he needed a whole lot of ďI see youĒ, didnít he? The story tells us this in the Gospel. There was this day when the Disciples were gathered together and they were full of fear and doubt and confusion. But they were together. Suddenly, in their midst appeared Jesus.   He said, ďPeace be with you; I bring you peace.Ē They looked at His nail wounds and knew it was really Jesus. They rejoiced exceedingly. Thomas, however, was not with them. Thomas was a broken man, he was out grieving. He missed everything. Can you imagine? The one Sunday he doesnít go to church and Jesus shows up. (laughter from the congregation)  Good reason to keep coming to church, donít you think? (even more laughter).

 

 Thomas was brokenhearted because he missed the Lord.  How he loved the Lord! He was broken in soul because there was a shadow on his faith. He was a totally broken man.

 

When he came back to the Upper Room, the Disciples rejoiced and told him that they had seen the Lord. However, Thomas did not want his heart broken again, and said that unless he could place his hands on Jesusís nail wounds and thrust his hands into Jesusís side, he would not believe.

 

The next time Thomas was there with the Disciples, Jesus appeared. They were all amazed. Jesus told Thomas to touch him and believe. Thomas was overwhelmed with emotion. Jesus said, ďThomas you believe because you have seen. Greater blessings are in store for those who have not seen and yet believe.Ē  So in an instant, Thomas was healed in heart and soul.

 

I believe with all my heart that God wants to put us back together, too.

 

What kind of miracles can we anticipate? First, letís anticipate miracles of healing, healing of the body. I have had these miracles and I know other people who have as well.   Be open to a medical blessing, wonít you? I know that right now I am looking at some of you who have had medical blessings.  God's will for you is good will.  Make room for His healing miracles in your life, and in the lives of your loved ones.

 

Secondly, Jesus is interested in healing the broken heart. Thomas loved Jesus and he didnít ever want to be hurt again. Perhaps you know of people who are going through issues of broken hearts.  To those people I say, make room for a miracle. Jesus sees you, Jesus hears you. Jesus knows you need his healing touch. Grieve if you must, grieve until all the tears are cried out. Then let the healing power of the Lord, Christ heal your broken heart in the ways that only He can.

 

Jesus came to Thomas in the midst of his broken heartedness and shared His love for him.

Jesus cares about the broken soul. There was doubt in Thomasís soul after the death of the Lord, Jesus. All of us go through times doubt and dark nights of the soul. Jesus cares, Jesus sees us, Jesus hears us and knows when the shadow of doubt overtakes us. Let Him heal that shadow. Let Him being light to your soul again, He can.  He will. Make room for a healing miracle in your soul. Jesus has the power to do it and Jesus wants to as well.

 

Finally, in closing. There is a love note at the end of this Gospel passage. When Jesus says those words to Thomas about believing because he could see, I believe He was not saying them with a stern and admonishing voice, I believe He was talking as one friend to another.  I believe He was saying, in effect, "Thomas! I heard you. Even though you couldnít see me, I could see you. I have come back so that your hopes may be fulfilled. So come and touch the wounds. Thomas, you believe because you could see, there are going to be many people who will have an even greater blessing, because even though they couldnít see, they do believe." I believe Jesus said this to him with a smile. I believe that encounter ended with a warm and blessed embrace.  

 

I pray that you say this kind of prayer in your heart:

 

             Dear Lord, I am ready to be blessed, blessed with an even greater blessing than you gave Thomas. Help me make room for a miracle in my life that even when I havenít seen, I can believe in Your goodness, in this life and the life to come. Amen.

 

God loves you; I do too. Have a blessed week.

© 2010 Anthony J. Godlefski