So they went up out of Egypt and came to the land of Canaan to their father Jacob. And they told him, “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.” And his heart became numb, for he did not believe them. But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.” Genesis 45:25-28 ESV
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, 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 in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, 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; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, 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 believed.” John 20:24-29 ESV
Odysseus went off to fight in a war, and he was gone for 20 years. His wife, Penelope, didn’t know if he was alive or dead. She wondered if she would ever see him again. When Odysseus finally came home, he disguised himself so his wife wouldn’t recognize him. Penelope asked him and some other men who wanted to marry her to string a bow that had belonged to Odysseus. None of the other men were able to do this, but Odysseus could. Penelope wondered if this stranger could be her husband. She gave him another test, and told him to move the bed out of the bedroom. Odysseus had built the bed, and he knew that it wasn’t possible to move it, because it was part of a live tree! When Penelope saw these signs, she knew that the stranger was her husband. It was a joyful reunion!
Jacob had long thought that Joseph was dead, and when his sons came home and told him that Joseph was alive, he couldn’t believe it. It seemed too good to be true. He had never expected to see Joseph again. How could he believe that Joseph was alive and well in Egypt, and in fact a powerful ruler? But when he saw all the rich provisions Joseph had sent for him, and heard the words of Joseph, he believed the good news.
When Jesus rose from the dead the first glad Easter, his disciples didn’t believe it. It seemed too good to be true. They didn’t believe until they saw Jesus for themselves. Thomas said he wouldn’t believe unless he could touch the mark of the nails in his hands and the mark of the spear in his side. So Jesus came and let Thomas touch him. When Thomas saw these signs, he believed the good news. What a joy to be with Jesus again!
Because Jesus rose from the dead, we can be sure that death is not the end for us. This is very good news for us when we lose someone who believed in Jesus. We can be sure that we will see everyone who believes in Jesus even after they die. Someday there will be a very happy reunion in our heavenly home, even happier than the reunion Jacob looked forward to having with Joseph.
Dear Jesus, thank you for conquering death for us. We look forward to being with you and all your people forever in heaven. Amen.