Christians worship on Sunday, the first day of the week, because Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. The change from Saturday to Sunday was intended to make every Sunday a little Easter – a little resurrection. When I was at Frazer we would open the worship service with “He is risen.” The congregation would reply, “He is risen indeed.”
Some people refer to the Sunday after Easter as “low Sunday.” When Easter is real, it ought to be a high Sunday because it is the first celebration of the people of God following the Easter resurrection celebration.
In John 20:19, the disciples were meeting together on Easter evening. I guess it could be called the first Sunday worship service. There was a resurrection roll call and all the disciples were present – except one. Verse 24 says that Thomas was not with them.
I wonder why Thomas wasn’t there. I am sure he had a good excuse – at least in his own eyes. Maybe there was a special TV program he wanted to see, or a ballgame, or company was coming to visit, or he had planned to relax at his lake house after the last few stressful days – the line of excuses could go on and on. He wasn’t there.
Look what Thomas missed!
1. He missed the presence of Jesus of Christ. Verse 19 says, “Jesus came in their mist.” Jesus appeared to them. A special appearance of Jesus to an individual would be missed if that person is absent.
2. Thomas missed the proof of the resurrection that Jesus wanted to show them. Verse 20 says, “He showed them His hands.” While there were so many rumors circulating about whether or not He had risen from the dead, Jesus was there and He was showing them His hands. This was proof of what He had done.
3. Thomas missed his peace. In verse 21 Jesus said, “Peace be with you.” The Bible indicates that the disciples were afraid. They were frustrated and anxious. They didn’t know about their future. Here Jesus appeared to them and offered them His peace. In today’s world one of the greatest things that people desire is peace of mind. Thomas missed it because he was absent.
4. Thomas missed out on the plan that Jesus had. In verse 21 He said, “I also send you.” The plan of Jesus was to send His people out to verify that He was risen. They had a story to tell. They had a message to give. Thomas missed hearing that. That is still God’s plan today. God’s plan is very simple – He is sending you and me to share the Good News.
5. He missed the power of God’s Holy Spirit. In verse 22 Jesus said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” In their situation of fear, anxiety, and weakness, Jesus offered to them the greatest power they could receive – the power of the Holy Spirit. Thomas missed that.
Look what Thomas missed! He didn’t answer the resurrection roll call, and he was the one who missed out. Any time we miss worship, we will miss out on something special. Measure any excuse for missing worship against the possibilities of what Thomas could have received. Don’t miss out!
Resurrection roll call – “Here.”