The disciples fled in fear, fearing for their lives after the treacherous Roman soldiers arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was then handed over to Caiaphas, the high priest to be tried in a mockery trial. Caiaphas issued the decree that Jesus deserved death because He claimed to be God. He sent Jesus to Pilate, the governor of Judea for judgment. Pilate issued the command for Jesus to be beaten and crucified. The moment Jesus died, Jerusalem was rocked by an earthquake and the veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51) signifying the middle wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles was broken down and each believer now could have personal access to God. The world would never be the same.
Previously, Jesus had told His disciples that He would be delivered into the hands of the high priest, scribes and Pharisees, and would be scourged and crucified, but He would rise from the dead on the third day. His disciples could not comprehend His words, His death or His resurrection. And, now they were overwhelmed with fear and unbelief after His death on the cruel Roman cross. It seemed to them that all hope had vanished and now they were all alone to face the future without their Master.
In Mark 16:9-11, we are told that Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and she went and told His disciples that He had risen. She found them mourning and weeping, but when they had heard that He was alive and she had seen Him, they were filled with doubt and believed not.
In John 20:19-29, we find that Jesus appeared to His disciples and Thomas was not among them at this appearing. Jesus showed them His nail-pierced hands and His side that had been pierced by the Roman sword. When the disciples told Thomas they had seen Jesus, he said to them, “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (v.25)
After eight days His disciples were all together and the doors being shut and Jesus stood in the midst of them and said, “Peace be unto you.” Then Jesus spoke to Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands: and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, “My LORD and my God”. (vs.27-28). Then profoundly in verse 29, “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”
But there was a centurion at the foot of the cross when Jesus spoke His last words and died, the ground began to quake and tremble under the centurion’s feet and the soldier said, “Truly this was the Son of God.” (Matthew 27:54). God opened his understanding and perhaps, he may have been present in the Upper Room when the Holy Ghost was poured out on the Day of Pentecost, and the Church of Jesus Christ was birthed.
We’re living in perilous times and the signs of the end time are coming together like a jigsaw puzzle. All the players are falling into place. It seems the world is falling apart, but in all actuality, it’s falling into places just as the prophets and apostles prophesied. Christianity is being ridiculed and belittled, and many Christians across the world are being martyred for the cause of Christ. Unbelief and fear is running rampant and many of God’s people are fighting incredible spiritual warfare, spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. Make no mistake about it! These are the ‘birth pangs’ that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24th chapter. But, blessed are our eyes that we see, ears to hear, and our hearts to received.
Child of God, listen carefully to what the LORD spoke to His church in Revelation 3:8, 10, 11, 13, “I know thy works: behold I have set before thee and open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word and hast not denied my Name. Because thou has kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast that no man take thy crown. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
Blessed (happy) are you who believe and will hold fast to your profession of faith and not waver in these last and evil days. Our reward is just up ahead! Look up, our redemption draweth nigh. Jesus is coming soon! Jesus said, “Be not afraid, only believe.” Blessed are they that have not seen, yet believed.
Peggy G. Sapp, editor of The Messenger, the Church of Jesus Christ, Nashville, Tennessee