26Eight 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.”
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia. Here we are eight days after the resurrection and the message is the same. Or is it? A lot can happen in eight days. The unrestrained joy of last Sunday has been hard-weathered by the events and the cares of this world. Our joy is assaulted by the harsh news of the evil in our world leveled at the followers of Christ. Our joy is blunted by the day-to-day grind of work and chores and bills and obligations. In just eight short days our joy is muted, and our celebrations diminished. As it seems to be every year around this time.
Life has a way of doing that to a person. And that is why, rather than focusing today on the weakness of Thomas, or the doubting of any of us who must face the cares and the events of this life, I would like to instead listen again to the Words our risen Lord brings. Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Yes, the message of our Lord to us on this eighth day of Easter is Peace! Peace in the time of fears and doubts. Peace in the face of hostility and persecution. Peace in this life because of the risen and eternal life of our Lord. But then again, Peace has always been the message God has tied to the powerful symbol of the eighth day.
What do I mean by that? Consider the importance of the eighth day in the life of Jesus. 2:21And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Right from the start Jesus marked the importance of the Old Testament covenants. On the eighth day Jesus, just like all Jewish males, was circumcised in accordance with God’s covenant with Abraham’s family. The eighth day set God’s people apart from the rest of the world as those who belonged to God’s chosen people. His own family, by promise – by faith, and not just by blood.
But here in Jesus we see the blood and the promise meet on the eighth day. For this baby circumcised into Abraham’s family is also of God’s own family by eternal right. The blood spilled that day, is but the first of what will be shed to cover the sins of mankind. His name, given on that eighth day, shouts peace to our world. Jesus – the full deity of God come among us, into our flesh, as one of us to save us as only God can.
And we know this is true because of another eighth day. 9:28Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Here we see not only the truth of the divinity of Christ and the restating of His heavenly plan to bring about peace, but we catch a preview of the coming resurrection we now celebrate. On this eighth day we catch a glimpse of the glory and splendour of what will be after the great enemies of sin, death and the devil are defeated once and for all in the resurrection of Jesus.
As Christ Himself declared in the Epistle from St. John’s Revelation: 8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” … 17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
I guess you could say that the eighth day has always been, in this way a symbol of the eternal. The eternal God at work in Human flesh to save us, and our eternal life in His resurrection. In seven days God created all things … only to watch them fall into sin and death. But on the eighth day He sent His Son to redeem all things and recreate the perfect and eternal life that was in the beginning. On the eighth day God brings Peace in His crucified and risen Son Jesus.
It is why the OT covenant of circumcision was done on the eighth day. To mark the beginning not just of life in this world, but life in God’s holy family. And it is why many Baptismal fonts were designed with eight sides. For Baptism marks the same thing still. It is the start of our new life in God. Our new life in Christ. A washing and a rebirth. A new creation in the blood of Christ shed for us on the cross. An everlasting life guaranteed to us because Jesus rose again just as He said He would.
It is why, in part, we Christians worship on Sundays now and no longer on the Sabbath. Sunday is, in a very real sense, the eighth day. The first day of the new week. A day for the new creation. The temporal reminder of the eternal. Each Sunday, regardless of what has passed in between, is the reminder of day Christ rose from the dead. Each Sunday marks the beginning of our new life – our eternal life – in Him. Each Sunday is the promise of that new and everlasting day that will be ours forever in the Living One.
21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And so on this eighth day let this be God’s Word to you too, dear friends. God’s peace is with you in Christ Jesus. Circumcised on the eighth day. Transfigured on the eighth day. Risen and appearing once again as God and Lord on the eighth day. And because He has overcome death and risen to everlasting life, so too will all who belong to His family, the Church. It is an everlasting message of Peace for those of us who have doubts and fears. It is a victorious proclamation of the everlasting life that is now yours in Him. It is the reason for our being, our inheritance as His family, and our joyful duty to proclaim throughout this world. Christ is risen! He is risen Indeed! Alleluia!