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The text for this lesson is John 20:19–31

Key Point

  • We, like Thomas, doubt what we cannot see. Through His Spirit, God gives us eyes of faith that we might see Jesus in Word and Sacrament and believe in Him.
  • Law: I sin when I rely on human reason instead of God’s Word and what it says about my Savior.
  • Gospel: The Holy Spirit gives me eyes of faith to believe that Jesus died and rose for my salvation and fills my heart with peace.

Discussion Points

  1. What parts of the liturgy confess Jesus’ resurrection?
  2. How is Christianity distinctly different from Eastern religions? What tendencies in some parts of Christendom share the “flesh is bad and spirit is good” philosophy with Eastern religions?
  3. Jesus said to the disciples, “Peace be with you,” and then showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed! According to Colossians 1:18–20 and Romans 5:1, what kind of peace has Jesus won for us, which is cause for great rejoicing?
  4. Read Matthew 16:16–19. What is the rock on which Jesus will build His Church? Of whom does Peter serve as the representative in that scene? In what way does John 20:21–23 show the fulfillment of Matthew 16:16–19? How does John 20:24 provide us with a clue as to which group of disciples received the Holy Spirit in John 20:21–23?
  5. The first words of both Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 are “In the beginning.” John wanted his readers to have the creation account in mind when reading about God’s redemption of the creation through the Word made flesh. John 20:22 records that Jesus breathed on His disciples and gave them the Holy Spirit. Compare John 20:22 to Genesis 2:7. What are the similarities and differences? In light of what the Holy Spirit will empower the disciples to do in John 20:23, what is the significance of John 20:22 for the Church?
  6. Read Luke 24:21–24. How might the response of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus help explain Thomas’s great reluctance to believe that Jesus had risen? Does John portray Thomas as any more doubting than the other disciples? How does Jesus use Thomas to provide a teaching moment for the Church?
  7. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Though as Christians we have not seen Jesus, we love Him, believe in Him, and greatly rejoice (1 Peter 1:8). “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Isaiah the prophet wrote, “Truly, You are a God who hides Himself” (45:15). How are we able to hear Jesus even though we cannot see Him? How can we touch Him without being able to sense His presence?

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