Reflection: Easter Day

Welcome to our series of Lent and Easter reflections.

The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle reminds us that Thomas needed proof of Jesus’ Resurrection, before reflecting upon what it means to be a Christian. This reflection is inspired by John 20: 19-28.

Receive upcoming reflections direct to your inbox by signing up to our newsletter.

Listen to the reflection

John 20: 19-28

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!’ 


On Easter night, it is Thomas who needs the proof, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands…I will not believe.’ Then, there before him, risen life stands before him, the victory of God, Christ in grace and glory. And Thomas believes. We need to see as Thomas saw. Why? Because we make the mistake of thinking that Christian faith is teaching, something to learn.

Christianity is not words and thoughts, but life and bodies. Christian faith is not doctrine, it is the life and death of Christ. When Thomas falls to his knees and says ‘My Lord and my God’ he was looking at a man who was dead and who lives. At Easter we see what Thomas saw and God would have us see, a human life and a human death. To be a Christian is to recognise that all of life everything we do with our bodies, including dying is inseparable from God and that, even in death, our God lives. Easter is not piety, or proposition, or performance. It is just life in its fulness, God’s life and ours.


O God in Jesus Christ you fell,
For love into the dark earth and died:
Give us grace to wait in patient
hope and love for the rich harvest
you have promised, that will
blossom in our hearts with abundant
life and love for all the world:
through Jesus Christ we pray
who is the promise of your love
restored, renewed and multiplied.