The difference 8 days can make…….. Consider this event after Christ’s Resurrection: Jn 20:19-29-
19 Now when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, (which was Resurrection Sunday) and when the doors were shut where the disciples were together due to fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and *said to them, “Peace be to you.”
20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be to you; just as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”
22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”…..
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, who was called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came………
25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
26 Eight days later His disciples were again inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be to you.”
27 Then He said to Thomas, “Place your finger here, and see My hands; and take your hand and put it into My side; and do not continue in disbelief, but be a believer.”
28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you now believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
This encounter with Thomas reminds me of another time when Jesus was in Jerusalem, as a newborn being taken by his parents to the temple there, which was just a short distance from Bethlehem, on the 8th day after his birth, the day of dedication and circumcision of the child….in Luke 2:21-38
21 And when eight days were completed also that it was time for His circumcision, He was also given the name Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the days for [b]their purification according to the Law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord: “EVERY FIRSTBORN MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD”),
24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what has been stated in the Law of the Lord: “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG DOVES.”
25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law,
28 then Simeon took Him in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 “Now, Lord, You are letting Your bond-servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all the peoples:
32 A light for revelation [f]for the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him.
34 And Simeon blessed them and said to His mother Mary, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and as a sign to be opposed—
35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in jyears and had lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage,
37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She did not leave the temple grounds, serving night and day with fasts and prayers.
38 And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak about Him to all those who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Here we see 2 events and timeframes- compare and contrast the two;
1.) 8 days after his birth-Jesus is in Jerusalem with his parents.
8 days after his Resurrection- Jesus is in Jerusalem with his followers in whom a type of rebirth
2.) Jesus was touched by Simeon who was given information by the Holy Spirit, who had not seen Messiah but longed to and believed that he would .
Jesus was touched by Thomas who had not seen Messiah and doubted because he had not seen or touched the risen Jesus.
3.) One event was the ceremonial circumcision of Jesus- which made him officially part of God’s chosen Jewish people.
In the other encounter with Thomas, it was Thomas’ heart that was circumcised and doubt removed. He believed and officially became part of the Kingdom of God on earth.
4.) Jesus’ parents, in obedience to the law, made a sacrifice to God on the day of his dedication.
Jesus Christ, in obedience to God, had given himself as a sacrifice for all humanity’s salvation.
5.) Simeon proclaimed the peace he felt in seeing the Messiah.
Christ himself proclaimed peace to all in his presence.
6.) His human Name- Jesus- was proclaimed by Simeon who knew he was the divine Messiah.
His Divine Name- My Lord and My God- was proclaimed by Thomas who had thought he was merely human.
7.) Anna a prophetess confirmed his identity and began telling everyone.
The disciples confirmed his identity and would soon begin their ministry of proclaiming the gospel to all the earth.
Two events, sepearated by 33 years, but with distinctive similarities. They are:
– Time- 8 days after Jesus’ birth and 8 days after his resurrection
– Place- Jerusalem
– Purpose- Each time was a revelation of Jesus Christ’s identity to those presence.
– Principles- Jesus’ entire life was an example to us of God’s desire to be one with humankind through the incarnate life of Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ fulfillled God’s desire for unity with all humankind through the power of his resurrection and the gift of eternal life by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Whether we are like the trusting, expectant priest or the disappointed and doubting disciple. Christ comes to make himself known to us. And although we may not see him with physical eyes, we can see the power of his Holy Spirit at work in our own lives, the lives of others, and in the world.