Let’s start with the last verse of this chapter in order to understand why the account of Thomas is so important in the book of John. John 20:30, “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the messiah, the son of God, and by believing you may have life in his name.” I could have written a 10,000 page book and it still wouldn’t contain everything Jesus did. John was laser focused in the encounters that he included in his gospel. Scholars believe that if you read straight through the book of John, you will notice that he only covers 21 days of the life of Jesus. 22 at the most. John is not writing a systematic account of the life of Jesus. He’s selective in the events he includes. Every event apexes with this one instance in the life of Thomas. This is the climax of the book. John 20:19, “in the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because of their fear of the jews. Then Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “peace to you!” having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. so the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “peace to you! As the father has sent me, I also send you.” after saying this, he breathed on them and said, “receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” Filling of the Spirit On sunday night, the disciples were huddled together behind closed doors out of fear. Without saying a word, Jesus squashes their timidity and doesn’t knock but walks through the wall. Blood is racing through their veins, adrenaline is flowing, and goose bumps have appeared. No one says a word. Jesus speaks first: “shalom.”Jesus then shows them his hands and his side. Luke says, “they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement” (24:41). Can anyone describe that night? I don’t think so. They are blown away. He then gives them the mission: “just as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” He breathes on them. Don’t miss this validating action of His deity. This action should remind us of God’s creative power in making Adam in Genesis 2:7, “then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.” This is the first time the disciples received the Holy Spirit. Why would Jesus breath on them here? The church is birthed in this room. People ask me, “do you believe in a second filling of the Holy Spirit? Yes. And a third. And a fourth. And a fifth. Paul said, “be filled with the Holy Spirit.” What is the purpose of God filling us with his spirit? To speak boldly for God. Arturo Azurdia in his book “spirit empowered preaching” pointed out 8 occurrences of this phrase: –the greek verb is pimplaymi “to fill or take possession of the mind. It is translated, “filled with the Holy Spirit.” I want you to see what happens everytime someone is filled with the holy ghost.
- Luke 1:13–15, “will be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
- Luke 1:39–41, elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Luke 1:42–45, she cried out in a loud voice.
- Luke 1:67, “zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied (which can be translated as preaching, or speaking).
- Acts 2:2–4, “they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, (or languages).
- Acts 2:6, 8, 11, “the tongues were understandable.”
- Acts 4:7, “filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter speaks.”
- Acts 4:31, “they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.”
- Acts 9:17, God told ananais to lay hands on Paul to be filled with the Holy Spirit.