Bringing the Text to Life

Come On, Come Out John 20:19-31

We must believe to see.

John's resurrection narratives are all focused on getting out of the tomb. The gospel story of Jesus' ministry -- the preaching, the teaching, the healing -- is offered as a way to get all those listening to "come on" to Christ in faith. After Jesus' crucifixion, his followers fled and scattered, hiding themselves from the authorities, cringing from any consequences of their discipleship.

Then the resurrection, the miracle of Easter, changes everything. John's gospel insists that they "come out" -- stop their cowering, keep believing, crawl out of their tombs of fear and get to work.

In John, the risen Christ's words of commissioning are imposing. He hands over total responsibility for his earthly mission to his disciples -- "As the Father has sent me, so I send you" (v.21). Nothing less than a full continuation of Christ's love and commitment is ordered, a tall order for fewer than a dozen terrified students closeted in a locked room.

Is the church today hunkered down for safety...

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