John 20:19-31 - Came this Jesus and stood in their midst
Updated: Mar 8, 2022
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 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."  After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.  Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."  When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "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."
 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you."  Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe."  Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"  Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book.  But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
This is the Gospel selection that will be read aloud by a priest on the second Sunday of Easter, Year C [and all Years], according to the lectionary schedule of the Episcopal Church. This Sunday’s lessons will begin with a mandatory reading from Acts, where Peter spoke as one with the other apostles, speaking as Jesus reborn before Caiaphas the high priest, saying “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” That will be followed by a singing of either Psalm 118 (where new verses will be added to those sung on Easter Day) or Psalm 150 (only possible to be sung on the second Sunday of Easter). A new verse from Psalm 118 sings, “God is the Lord; he has shined upon us; form a procession with branches up to the horns of the altar.” Psalm 150 sings, “Hallelujah! Praise el in his holy temple; praise him in the firmament of his power.” A reading from Revelation will then follow, where John wrote, “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.”
In 2018, I wrote about this reading selection and posted my views on my website at that time. Those observations are available by clicking on this link. In 2021, I made a couple of tweaks to that commentary; and, I wrote a new commentary, which I published just last Easter season. That commentary can be read by clicking on this link. What I offered before is still valid. Both commentary titles tell of the “Spirit Holy,” based on the written text. The Scripture has not changed. However, I will now deeply add some new observations to those before, some of which have comes to me just recently. All need to be restated as importance worth knowing fully.
In the above translation by the Episcopal Church, from the NRSV, I have added the verse numbers. I believe it is important to see the transitions of that written, as each verse holds its own set of important statements that must be firmly grasped. This truth can be seen in how the presentation above has gaps between the verses, as this is a story told in multiple parts. The first part is Jesus appearing while Thomas is away. The second part tells of Thomas returning and being told Jesus had appeared. The third part tells of Jesus re-appearing after Thomas has returned. The fourth part sums up the forty days Jesus would spend with his disciples, and the importance that period of teaching would have on the world. Each part must have deep meditation placed on it; and, each part must be seen as if John were writing these verses for you specifically to understand. If it is read only as a story, then one is far from realizing Salvation. It is imperative to see John trying to help you see the truth, so you will receive the Spirit and become Jesus reborn.
I want to place important focus on John writing, “ēlthen ho Iēsous kai estē eis to meson”. He wrote that segment of words as the fifth segment in a verse that has six segments. Those words separate from the rest (by comma marks) and say, “he came this Jesus kai made a stance into this midst”. In that, the use of the word “kai” indicates importance must be seen in this “stand into this midst”. One must realize that prior to this, where “he came” (“ēlthen”), John had said the disciples hid in fear of the Jews, in a room where all the doors were locked. There was no knock on the door [which could have been, had Thomas returned – a ‘secret code’ knock]. He just “came.” When John then said “this Jesus” (“ho Iēsous”), the name “Jesus” is capitalized, which makes it have divinely elevated meaning. While everyone knows Jesus was divine, the written name “Jesus” means it should be read as saying the meaning behind the name: “Yah Saves.” So, John said while the disciples shook with fear and hid away, “Yahweh came to Save them.”
This understanding then leads to the “kai,” so the importance of “taking a stance into this middle” is speaking of Yahweh, as His Son’s soul, not some physical entity that suddenly appeared as a separate man in the room. The soul of Jesus “came kai took an upright position in union with each soul” (“the center” of each) that sat, leaned, stood, or curled up in some fetal position on the floor. This is most important to grasp.
In the Greek written by John in this segment of words, the word “eis” translates as “into.” It leads to “meson,” meaning, “middle, in the midst of, between, in the middle.” While that can certainly be read as saying, “Jesus came and stood in the middle of the room,” the word “eis” needs deeper understanding. According to HELPS Word-studies, this preposition properly means, “into (unto) – literally, "motion into which" implying penetration ("unto," "union") to a particular purpose or result.” Now, it could be nice to see Jesus as “in union” with the room, having “penetrated” it; but the use of “kai” forces one to see a soul (that of “Jesus”) “penetrates” and “takes a stance” within the “center” of human beings, by importantly coming “in union” with other souls (one at a time, all at once).
Here, it becomes important to dovetail this reading from John in with the reading from Luke 24:13-35 (read during the third Sunday of Easter in Year A), which tells of Cleopas and his wife Mary walking home to Emmaus, on this same Sunday – the first day of the week – after the Passover festival was over. They encountered some man that they did not recognize; and, he filled their souls with marvel, quoting how Scripture had been fulfilled by Jesus. They invited him to “Abide” (a capitalized “Meinon”) and we read, “he entered in of this to abide with themselves” (where a “self” is a “soul”). The word Luke wrote that says this pilgrim traveler “entered in” is “eisēlthen,” which is similar to John writing “came this Jesus” (using “ēlthen”). Both mean “to come, go,” with Luke’s usage adding “in,” which is like John adding “eis.” In Luke’s story, he wrote that this man broke bread and blessed it and then “he vanished having become away from them.” Up until that time, the soul of Jesus had “come in union” with their souls (their midst), in the same way the soul of Jesus entered each of the disciples’ souls, as John recorded.
For this selection to be read aloud by a priest on a Sunday in the Easter season, the point is to see the resurrection of Jesus is pointless, if that resurrection is not within one’s own soul. One has to see the Easter season as that time when the body of Jesus has forever been taken away. What appears to be his body of flesh is an illusion that will suddenly “vanish having become away from” one’s peepers. In the Acts reading, where Peter spoke as one with “the apostles,” everyone of those apostles were shaking with fear in this reading from John. The difference between shaking with fear and standing before the High Priest Caiaphas and telling him things only Jesus would say speaks loudly that Peter and the apostles were reborn as Jesus. This is the truth of Christianity.
Now, in John’s account we find Thomas was not there. Because it was evening on the first day of the week, it was time for a bite to eat. While it is not stated where this room everyone was locked inside was, for it to be the upper room in the Essene Quarter of Jerusalem (real close to where Caiaphas’ house was), the owner would have extended his generosity to the group, so they had access for the entire eight days of the Passover festival [Essenes recognized the Passover as Mount Carmel, in Samaria]. Because that room would be a loaner, one that does not come with free meals or a well-stocked kitchen, it would be necessary to leave to secure food. Rather than send everyone out (and the disciples locked in the room included women and children), Thomas (and probable his sons or the sons of the others) would have gone to get food, in order to bring it back for the whole group. Meanwhile, after Cleopas and Mary sat down for their evening meal (when Jesus was realized, before disappearing), they jumped up and began a quick walk back to Jerusalem, to tell the ones in hiding what they had witnessed.
The first block of verses speaks of the typical fears human beings have. They think they are bodies of flesh with life. They think their brains are the most powerful gods on planet earth. Their thought surround them with an overwhelming knowledge that their little bodies of flesh, despite having such big brains, as powerless against the human authorities … if those human authorities decide to come for little people who think and squash them like bugs. Everybody is afraid of its own shadow; and, everyone’s soul trembles within that body of flesh, cowering down in submission to the world. This fear is the wilderness test that is miserably failed. That failure is because a soul alone is nothing. It must be joined in divine marriage to Yahweh; and, then it must become the soul that gives rebirth to the resurrected soul of Jesus. This first block paints a picture that says every lead disciple in that room would have never been arrested for preaching in the temple, using the name Jesus while they preached. They never would have been freed from lockup; and, they never would have gone before Caiaphas as brave men, without all that divine union transfiguring their souls. Without Yahweh and Jesus reborn, all human beings are afraid to ACT.
The second block says Thomas (a name that means “Twin”) is one who is less afraid than the typical human beings. The capitalization of this name gives it divine elevation as a “Twin,” where that word means “made up of two similar, related, or connected members or parts : DOUBLE.” (Merriam-Webster’s 2a) This brings out the duality of the number “two.” While the one was afraid, the two was brave. Thomas was the one who volunteered to go out into the world and get food. While there, he would see what was really going on. Rather than let his imaginations get the better of him, he wanted to see for himself if there was anything to be afraid of. On a deeper level, a “Twin” becomes a statement of one soul being where a second soul is resurrected. As such, the soul of Jesus becomes the ”Twin” that becomes the Lord over a soul and its body of flesh; so, bravery takes control, leaving the fear to hide deep within.
Taking this into account, Thomas was not yet a “Twin” reborn of Jesus. He was a “Twin” of fear, who was the opposite, to the point of being dangerous. When Thomas told the others, “I hear ya, but I remember watching all you trembling so bad, I volunteered to go get food, just to get away from all your fears. Now you say your wild imaginations saw the man we all saw dead on a crucifix and wrapped in burial cloths, put into a tomb is now up and walking around. Well, for me to believe in ghosts, I have to see one to believe in one.” This becomes the part of humanity that does not accept anything that cannot be measured by the five physical senses. Therefore, Thomas is the “Twin” for religion, which is “Science.”
Now, when Jesus appeared [a word that does not appear in any text written in John 20] the first time, we read of Jesus speaking to their souls (the words “legei autois” translates as, “he says to themselves,” where a “self” is a “soul”), saying, “Peace to your souls” (from “Eirēnēhymin” likewise places focus on “themselves” – “souls”), the capitalization of “Eirēnē” says a divine elevation must be applied to the word that translates as “one, peace, quietness, rest.” I have written in the past about this becoming a ‘catch phrase’ for the Episcopal Church, where everyone runs around saying, “Peace to you,” as if anyone not filled with Yahweh’s Spirit can give the ‘Lord’s Peace’ to anyone. Here, we need to look at the truth that is said, which is possible when one realizes this is not some separate entity standing amongst the fearful disciples, telling them to “Calm down fellas and fellettes.”
The translation as “one” needs to be grasped. According to HELPS Word-studies, the word “eiréné” is: “from eirō, “to join, tie together into a whole.” Therefore, they add, “properly, wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together; peace (God's gift of wholeness).” So, “Peace” is a true translation; but it is one that leads one away from the whole truth. For Jesus to be raised in the dead of his disciples’ bodies, he has become “One to themselves,” as “One with their souls.” Jesus was not talking like a two-fingered hippie Episcopalian priest or bishop, his soul had raised their souls to a state of divine “Oneness.” They were spiritually told, “We are One now.”
This statement was made before all the disciples were shown “his hands” and “his side.” When one reads the Greek slowly, with prayer, one sees that written says, “he showed <kai> his hands kai his side to themselves”. As such, everyone in the room became like the man who walked with Cleopas and Mary to Emmaus. Each one “showed” their own bodies as that of Jesus. They had become “his hands” and more importantly (“kai” usage) they became “his side,” where each of “their souls” (“themselves”) had been pierced (“eis” as “penetrated”) by his soul. The angle brackets around the word “kai,” after “he showed,” says the following statements are not visible, but hidden within. Thus, seeing themselves as a resurrected Jesus, they “Rejoiced” (“Echarēsan”), where that capitalization states a divine elevation applied to “Gladness.” They saw with their souls, not with their eyes. Not only did they know Jesus was raised from the dead, Jesus was raised within them, saving their souls from death (eternal life makes one “Rejoice”). With this realization known to each and every living human in that room, Jesus then repeated what he had said before: “Oneness to your souls.”
When John wrote, “Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord” (verse 20, NRSV), the capitalization of “Kyrion” must be seen as another capitalized word, raised divinely to a higher meaning than “Teacher” or “Master,” as a title. Because the soul of Jesus had been raised within his disciples’ souls (him in each one) – and they knew it by “Rejoicing” – that soul resurrected within each became each soul’s “Lord,” over their souls and their bodies of flesh. This is vital to see, as it was this “Lord” that possessed all of the apostles, so they preached in the Temple “in the name of Jesus,” which led the Sadducees of the Sanhedrin to have them arrested [the Acts 5 reading for this day]. Peter spoke to Caiaphas as “the Lord” Jesus, not as scared of his own shadow Peter.
When Jesus divinely spoke within them all, saying they each were “One” with his soul, Jesus then explained, (I paraphrase now) “Just as the Father sent my soul in the flesh, now that that flesh has returned to Eden, I now send your flesh out as me reborn.” When John then wrote, “enephysēsen,” meaning “he breathed into,” this is a statement of a rebirth, where birth receives a soul – the breath of life by Yahweh – now a second “breath of eternal life” was “breathed into” each breath of life in a body of flesh.
When verse twenty-two has only three capitalized words in one segment – “Labete Pneuma Hagion” – that says each soul then “Received” that breath of eternal life, as a soul joined as “One” with the soul of Jesus. The capitalization of “Receive” is what a wife does to her husband on her honeymoon. The divine elevation says each soul there was then married to Yahweh, as having “Received” Him in the marriage chamber. That was fertilization of the seed of Jesus was compliments of the “Spirit” of Yahweh, who not only breathed life into dead matter when they were born, He now had poured out His “Spirit” in Baptism over their souls. From that “Spirit” infusing their whole being (soul and body) they were then deemed “Holy, Sacred, and Set Apart by God.” This means all of the followers of Jesus then became “Saints.”
When the NRSV translates verse twenty-three as saying, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained,” this is easy to misinterpret. Everything is written in the second-person and third-person plural. No one is given any powers to forgive anyone. Everything is relative to “if of a certain one,” which states a conditional for those new Saints, pertaining to their past sins. Some things they had been told were sins, when they were not (such as healing on a Sabbath). Some things they had done were sins they retained. The point of verse twenty-three is your past has been justified. It says, from now on you will act according to the voice of Jesus, who speaks for the Father; so, everything done in the future will be without judgment as a sin, regardless of what Sadducees on the Sanhedrin (and their minion scribes) might think. The problem that comes from not realizing this comes when some elevate mere human beings into pope-like positions, who then make believe he or she can forgive anything. Only Yahweh forgives. All others just say, “Yahweh, you know.”
When the second group of verses has Thomas returning, it is important to realize that Jesus did not leave. Jesus was still “One to their souls,” he was just “vanished” from someone doing the secret knock on the door and then being let in with some broiled fish and fixings (a super-sized to-go box). Therefore, when Thomas said, “Unless I do the physical proving that Jesus has indeed been raised from the dead, I will not believe,” there is merit to that statement.
The key word there is “pisteusō,” which either means, “I will believe” or “I will have faith.” The two are not the same thing. Thus, for Thomas to enter into a room that is filled with everyone else being Jesus reborn (just not looking like Jesus), Thomas reflects an outsider (a Jew, but without being reborn as Jesus that only meant he was a different style of Gentile) entering into a true assembly (ecclesia) of those Anointed by Yahweh’s “Spirit.” Everyone in that room was a true “Christian” because they had become “Received” by Yahweh, filled by the “Spirit” of Yahweh, and made “Sacred” by Yahweh’s forgiveness. Thomas was not so blessed. Thus, what Thomas said becomes the truth – the mantra – of ALL who are not filled with the “Spirit,” made “Holy” by Yahweh, and “Received” as Saints by the possession of Jesus’ soul. To be an outsider being told Jesus has risen will always have the same effect. Without proof of that divine presence within, nobody will do more than (“not”) say, “I will believe.” Christianity is not about belief. It is about faith; and faith comes by being Jesus resurrected within one’s soul – the proof needed.
In verse twenty-six, I have written in the past about this, but it bears repeating. The NRSV translation that says “a week later” is complete ignorance of how John wrote. He wrote, “after days eight,” which has absolutely nothing to do with saying “eight days later.” The Passover festival began a counting of the days until the first fruits would be deemed ripe and ready (on Pentecost – the Fiftieth Day). That count begins after the first full day of the Passover (15 Nisan) has ended. At six in the evening (official night; and, official change of date) the numbering of the “days” began with “one.” Sunday – the first day of the week – was the seventh of the “days.” When it became officially night (after six), then that time on the same day becomes the meaning of “after days eight.” The counting of the omer just became the “eighth” of the “days.” Each of the “days” means the Jews recite a prayer for that day. So, it wasn’t a week later. It was after the official time of night began and the official numbering of the “days” went from seventh to “eighth.”
This says Thomas had been out getting food and returned in time for all the food to be spread out on a table. All the people there (disciples and family – all filled with the “Spirit” and reborn as “Jesus”) were eating, with Thomas, when Jesus again suddenly appeared like he had before. Now, he is within Thomas, in the same way he was inside the souls of the others. Everything Jesus commanded Thomas to do, Thomas did it with his own body of flesh, having become the reborn body of Jesus. Thomas is truly a “Twin” with Jesus’ soul. Here, one needs to realize the truth of those words that make it seem as if Jesus were scolding Thomas.
After Thomas also realizes the soul of Jesus is his “Lord,” whose presence within his soul-body brough the blessings of Yahweh, his “God,” the soul of Jesus then “Spoke” within Thomas (from the capitalization of “Legei”). That divine inner voice said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me , you have faith.” The capitalization of “Because” raises this “Cause of faith” to an awareness of the presence of Yahweh’s Spirit AND Jesus’ possessing soul within. That “Cause” is the truth of divine possession. It goes well beyond anything possible to be believed, based on hearsay. The meaning of “pepisteukas” is it states true “faith in,” not simple “belief in.” When Jesus then continued, saying, “blessed those not having seen , kai having faith,” that demands one realize what “blessed” means.
In the so-called ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ the first focus made was on those “blessed.” This is generalized (based on the Latin word for “bless”) to be “the Beatitudes.” Everything written in Matthew (and others) uses the same word written here by John (only capitalized), “makarioi.” The translation as “blessed” transfigures into a statement that says, “saints.” Therefore, what Jesus told Thomas says, “saints are those souls having not seen with physical eyes, who importantly have faith nevertheless.” This says nothing bad about Thomas, because Thomas was a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth (born in Bethlehem), whose eyes knew what the body of Jesus looked like. Thomas, like all the others in that room, saw the body of Jesus as their own bodies. In the future, being able to visualize that long ascended body, having never laid eyes on the flesh that the soul of Jesus was born into, will be impossible. Still, saints will come as Jesus resurrected without that ability to see him as proof that he is raised from the dead.
This means that today, nearly two thousand years after Thomas had his personal epiphany that Jesus was raised in his flesh, one can still become a saint by Receiving the Spirit and being made a Saint, by doing the Acts told of in Scripture. One’s soul must hear n inner voice lead one to find the proof one needs through works of faith. One must be told to believe. One must take belief to a serious level of commitment. One must prove Jesus lived through the divine words of Scripture. When one sudden finds “he came this Jesus,” within one’s soul and flesh, then one will be able to see the truth of his wounds in one’s own flesh. One needs to be able to see divinely, not physically. That divine insight comes from sincere efforts of belief.
When this is realized, one can then see how John wrote that the full scope of Jesus is beyond what can be written and captured on pages placed in a book. When John wrote, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples,” this must be read as meaning today, with one reading those words being a “disciple” of Jesus, who is “in the presence of his” soul. Those are the ACTS that Jesus commands one to do, once one has truly gained faith. When John then wrote, “these (words) are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God,” this says these words are written in a way that leads to belief, but through deeper inspection (with meditation and prayer) leads deeper to the truth, which becomes the proof of faith. One cannot simply believe that Jesus is the Anointed one, without being oneself (a “self” is a “soul”) a “Christ,” with the “Spirit” of Yahweh poured out upon one’s soul. That brings the divine possession of “Jesus” resurrected, where all such “Christs” are “brothers,” all “Sons” of the Father, in His name (Israel and Jesus).
As the Gospel reading chosen for the second Sunday of Easter, the point must be seen as oneself being like all of the frightened disciples. Fear comes from being mortal, knowing death awaits out souls, for Judgment. That fear can become the pretense of bravery, when one rejects the tenets of religion, as things said without proof. That rejection snowballs when those teaching have no divine possessions within their souls, being hired hands that recite prayers from books and do nothing that explained the truth of Scripture. To be in a room alone and frightened means to be a believer of Jesus, when the Church is known to persecute any and all who threaten their livelihoods by knowing the truth of Jesus raised from the dead. That says it is up to oneself to read Scripture and pray for the truth to be shown one. Acts of this nature bring forth the Angel of Yahweh that frees one from one’s prison and sets one free to teach, so others will not be led by the blind any longer. The truth of this reading from John has to be found on one’s own, because few priests are explaining this Scripture as I just have.