John 20:19-31 (NRSV)
Verse 19When 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." Verse 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Verse 21Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Verse 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Verse 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." Verse 24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. Verse 25So 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."
Verse 26A 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." Verse 27Then 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." Verse 28Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Verse 29Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe." Verse 30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. Verse 31But 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.
Gathered together in peace
Peace be with you. Jesus said it to his gathered disciples—and to us—three times. The Holy Spirit came upon them and comes upon us. God’s promises have been fulfilled. The Messiah has come! Jesus is the light of the world and that light cannot be overcome.
Jesus, the divine Son of God, is the one in whom God and the Holy Spirit are present and active among us. The intended effect of the gospel’s witness is that people might believe and thereby receive life. Life in its fullest sense means life in relationship with God. We are truly alive when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and living in community with one another and witnessing to God who made us and Jesus who brings peace to us, as individuals and as a community. We are united and filled with the Spirit and now sent to be witnesses to the peace that passes all understanding.
Let there be peace on earth, O holy one, and let us be transmitters of your peace to those in the world. Fill us with your spirit as we witness to the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.