A lot of you younger kids took part in our Easter egg hunt a couple of weeks ago. Maybe you went on another one last week. When after a few minutes you had found your ten or twenty or thirty eggs, did some of you wonder if you could go back out there and find some more? If you did, I wouldn’t be surprised if mom or dad or grandma or grandpa said at some point, “What you have is more than enough, especially since most of those eggs are filled with chocolate and candy and other sugary confections.” It’s just a natural reaction for all of us, isn’t it, to want to have more – more years of good health, a more certain financial security, more of an opportunity to love and to be loved. And while some of our desires for more can be selfish and sinfully greedy, some of them are just natural prayers that if it would be God’s will and good for us, it would be nice to have more.
We have one of those natural and understandable situations in the second last verse of our Gospel for today from John 20. In verse 30 near the end, the apostle John says, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.” Wouldn’t you like to know more about those unrecorded miracles? Wouldn’t you like to marvel at more wonders like turning water into wine and feeding thousands of people with a few fish and pieces of bread and commanding a stormy sea to be quiet and opening up ears that were deaf and eyes that could not see and telling people who were dead to live! It would be a great thing to have more miracles to study and more reasons to praise God, but our heavenly Father has made it clear that “What We Have Is More Than Enough.”
Doubting Thomas wanted more, didn’t he, but he wanted more in a way that wasn’t so noble. He wanted to have it proven to him that Jesus was alive in a way that he felt would be enough to convince him that Jesus was alive and well. He wanted to actually touch Jesus’ wounds in his hands and his side. That would be enough to give him peace, at least that’s what he thought. But let’s think about that thought for a minute. Even if anyone out there or someone we know who doesn’t believe in Jesus actually got to touch Jesus’ wounds in his hands and his side, would that be enough to get him to believe in Jesus? He might believe that Jesus was alive, but he wouldn’t necessarily believe it made any difference that Jesus was alive, because the only way that Jesus can make a difference in your life is if you know you need what Jesus did when he was alive – and that was to die to forgive you your sins so that you can live in heaven when you die. Many people may admit that there really was a real Jesus, but they don’t believe what Jesus really did.
But what a comfort Jesus gives all of us who haven’t had the privilege of touching his wounds in his hands and his side, which he did in his love give Thomas the opportunity to do the next week when he appeared to his disciples a second time. What you and I can rely on is what Thomas and his fellow disciples witnessed about – “My Lord and my God,” Thomas said — and which John wrote about, when he said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus has not physically appeared in this church this morning, but Jesus is here – wherever two or three gather in his name, he is right here in the midst of us, he says. And Jesus also is right here (our hearts). The reason he is here among us and here inside us is because we believe what he has said, though we have not seen him, at least not with our physical eyes. When we read and hear what happened that first Easter Sunday and on that next Sunday following, God opens our eyes to see it in another way – in what we often refer to as the eyes of faith. That’s why we also so often pray to have the faith of a little child, who totally believes what mommy or daddy says, even though mommy or daddy can’t deliver on every promise they give or speak perfectly accurately on every point they make.
But our heavenly Father can, and he does. John tells us in the last verse that even though we may wish we knew more about the other miracles which Jesus performed, what we have is definitely more than enough. Verse 31: “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” What more can you possibly need in life than to know that because Jesus is the Messiah – the Christ — the Son of God, you have life in his name!
Do you believe that? It’s so easy at times, isn’t it, with all our busy-ness and all the other “important” and “practical” things we have to deal with, to sometimes not appreciate the importance of what having “life in Jesus’ name” means for us? Well, what is meant by having life in Jesus’ name? Thinking about one of the miracles that is recorded in the Gospels can help us understand that – the miracle of Jesus healing that man who couldn’t walk, and whom some of his friends let down through the roof of the house on a mat, because the house was so full of people wanting to see Jesus. Some of those people were the enemies of Jesus, who said he was speaking blasphemy because he was forgiving people their sins. “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” they asked. Well, Jesus didn’t miss a beat, but he looked at those enemies, and he said, “That you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…,” and then he looked back at the paralyzed man and said with the power of God himself as the Son of God, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home,” which that once-paralyzed man immediately did, praising God every step of the way.
To have life in Jesus’ name means to know that everything wrong we have ever done against God or someone else – or ever will – has been forgiven and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, even if we can walk well and are very much alive on the outside, we are dead on the inside. If we don’t know we need to be forgiven of our sins, we are dead in them. But the purpose of Jesus’ miracles was to assure us that he really was the long-promised Messiah who would come to pay the price for the sins of the world – and that by believing that, you and I might have life in his name – life which knows the reason we are here in this life and which knows that there is eternal life to come when this life is over. That, dear friends, is much more than enough.
And that is what God wants everyone else to know, too. When Jesus appeared in that locked room and said “Peace be with you,” he wanted those disciples to know for themselves that all was well – that all was at peace — even though they had deserted him and fled just a few days before – and he wanted them to know that that peace was what he wanted them to share with others, just as he wants you and me to do today. That’s why he breathed on them in a special way and said in that way he was giving them the gift of the Holy Spirit to do something that is a matter of life and death – to tell people they are forgiven of their sins or tell people they are not forgiven of their sins. Jesus said, “If you forgive anyone their sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
What an important honor and privilege God has given us who have been given so much more than enough to know that all is well with us because of Jesus – that peace is with us, just as it was with those disciples. He wants us disciples to say the same thing to people close by to us and far away from us, even as we have to give the warning that if people don’t care about the forgiveness of their sins – if people show by their lives that they are not one bit sorry for their sins – if people don’t see a need for the forgiveness of their sins – their sins remain with them – that those sins are hanging on to them like a weight which no human being can possibly carry into eternity. God doesn’t want that for anyone, and neither do we. That’s why we ask God to help us live our faith in a way that people will want to know more about it; why we ask God to give us simple words to say what we know about Jesus and to invite them to hear more about Jesus by inviting them to church; why we pray for our missionaries in other parts of our state and our country and our world and why we support them with our offerings, even as we pray that the Lord will allow them to say as often as possible to as many people as possible, “Your sins are forgiven.” We want everyone to know that having life in Jesus’ name by knowing he is the Son of God is much, much more than enough to make this life filled with joy and the next life filled with a peace and perfection that we can only dream about now.
That is the peace and perfection we do have right now, though, by faith – by believing in the one who rose from the dead and who didn’t need doors or windows to tell his dearly loved people, “Peace be with you.” There may be many things we truly wish we could have more of – and some of those things the Lord might even decide to let us have more of – but when in spirit you are with those disciples in that locked room on that first Easter Sunday, what you have is more than enough. You have a Savior who really is alive after finishing the forgiveness-winning, Satan-crushing, life-changing work he came to do. And you have a Savior who has also given you the gift of the Holy Spirit to warn people about the need for him and to comfort people that he has filled that need in a way that truly is more than enough – and more than we could ever possibly imagine. That is one thing there will never be more than enough of – more people – more people we hope and pray will join us in believing that and living with us in heaven, because that’s a place where there will always be room for more! Amen.