Thoughts on John 20:19-31

by Jacob Juncker

Jesus’ first appearance to the disciples in the Gospel of John intrigues me.  I find it interesting the way in which Jesus is recognized.  It is not as if the disciples said, “Let me look in your eyes” or “what about that birth mark on your right shoulder, let me see that.”  No, the proof the disciples sought was to witness his wounds: the evidence of his sacrifice.  Even Thomas, having heard the story from the other disciples had  to see his wounds.  I can’t help but think there’s a lesson there.

So often we assume that people make a name for themselves based upon what they have and who they have become because of what they have (education, assets, etc.).  It is fascinating that here, Jesus is not known for what he has (eye color, clothing, birth mark?); but, rather, by what he lacks.  Jesus is recognized by the holes in his hands and his side.

So often, we, persons in the church, want to be known by what we have.  We flaunt around in our new cars and fancy clothes.  We praise the beauty of our expensive sanctuaries.  We praise the fact that we took in 45 new members.  We, persons in the church, are not so willing to be like Christ.  We are hesitant to sacrifice our stuff let alone be known by that which we do not have.

Jesus knew the power of giving.  He also knew that true giving takes sacrifice.

Does giving require sacrifice?  What have you sacrificed in order to be generous?

 As we, persons in the church, begin to serve our communities better there will be times when our generosity is tested.  There will be times when people abuse our generosity.

 When has your generosity been tested?  Have there been times when you thought your giving was not appreciated?

As we do our best to serve the “least of these” in our community, there will be times when we are taken advantage of, but we mustn’t forget the resurrection stories of Jesus Christ.  Christ was known by his extravagant love and the wounds that love cost.

I don’t know how our generosity will be tested, but I do know this…like Christ, the sacrifices we make to be generous and help all persons are done unconditionally.  We give after the example of Christ who gave nothing less than himself to show us the way to life.

Our calling, as the incarnating presence of Christ active in the world today, is to give nothing else than ourselves that the Kingdom of God might be experienced here.