I. The Hallmark is a standard identification on precious items.
A. Fine metals usually have “Hallmarks” on them: initials, symbols, etc.
B. Done for two reasons:
1. Started in the 1300 when King Edward of
metals to have a guarantee of purity. He wanted to make sure it was pure silver – it is real!
2. It tells what “hall” it came from or who made it.
II. Today’s Text: John 20:19-31
A. Thomas was not originally with the disciple’s when Jesus appeared on Easter.
1. “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hands in His side, I will not believe it.” Is this so unusual? He wanted to see it for himself. Afterall…
2. “Why did Moses spend 40 years in the wilderness? Because the men wouldn’t stop and ask for directions. A lot of us wouldn’t accept someone else’s word.
3. We all want to be sure.
could Thomas have been from? The “show
me state” –
He needed to see the proof. He needed to see the scars.
He needed to see the Hallmarks.
4. In the early church there was a heresy called Docetism.
a. Jesus did not die on the cross.
b. Jesus did endure human pain.
c. Jesus only “appeared” (Greek: doceo) or “seemed” to suffer.
5. Thomas needed to be sure. His “hope” rested on Jesus’ “scars – those Hallmarks of God’s Grace. They would testify to Thomas that Jesus was really the savior.
B. A week later, Thomas saw Jesus.
1. “Put your fingers here…do not doubt but believe”
2. Because of Jesus’ scars, Thomas’ response was “My Lord, my God.” He recognized the Hallmarks. He saw the hope for His eternity before Him. For the first time, he felt God’s love, God’s grace in Jesus Christ.
3. The risen Christ gave Thomas and gives us today Joy…
4. But too often we miss the “mark” totally!
a. Isn’t it amazing how Jesus desires to gives us His grace, but we often don’t want to receive it?
b. Or we miss it because our worldly vision fogs up our view of God and we just don’t see the grace God desires for us to have? Especially at Thanks giving and Christmas time. Satan desires to fog us of the real focus on God’s grace and on Jesus.
c. Satan does not want us to feel God’s grace. So sometimes we need to “seek” it out. At Christmas we can not depend upon the media or the stores to show us God’s grace or to focus us on Jesus.
d. While justification, the saving grace is a free gift from God, sometimes we need to participate in the sanctification or seeking process in our faith walk.
e. Ma says: “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” How awesome to know that because of His grace, God desires to open doors for us – if we will just seek Him daily.
C. Having God’s Grace gives us Joy and hope, but note, Jesus still had scars and it it doesn’t erase our scars either. Even Paul had a thorn in his side, physical ailment which “bugged him” – but he said it was a constant reminder of the grace God had upon him.
1. The scares of our life are simply reminders of what Jesus endured for us and of how He helps us to endure.
2. I Peter 2:24: “by His wounds you have been healed.”
3. In turn, our lives – with our scars – become proof of Jesus and His grace to others.
4. The scars give us hope – for they are the hallmarks of His ownership.
D. God’s Grace and our hope are based solely upon the empty cross and the open tomb.
1. As the hymnist says: “Our Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.”
2. At our baptism, Jesus’ blood marks us as His own and from that time our faith and life are constantly being “shaped by His hands.” But often our Hallmark – or what I like to call, our “Grace-mark” becomes tarnished and hidden behind the world’s “hopelessness” -- Especially at this time of the year.
But I ask, what does Grace-mark look like? Is your “grace mark” hidden?
a. Some churches show the crucifix with Jesus still on the cross. I prefer Jesus not on the cross, for we are a “resurrection” church all year long. We focus on that holiday above all the rest. That is why we have worship on Sundays as it reminds us of Easter every week.
WHY? Because if He were still dead, we would have no hope for the future.
b. But some people live as if Jesus were still on the cross.
Is he still
on your cross or is Jesus off your cross?
Is He dead or alive in your life? Where is your hope?
Claire Boothe Luce once said “there are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them.” In the same way, I would say there are no “graceless situations – only people who do not seek His grace.”
3. We need to live in the grace and “hope” of things to come. Thomas knew that. He wanted proof of Jesus’ life because He knew that His eternal life depended on it.
4. The Gospel message of Christ is not just that He rose, but also that he endured the scars and sufferings of our life and He grace gives us hope that we too can endure.
E. Thomas went on to become a great apostle for Jesus.
1. He did not hide in the room behind a locked door all his life. No. When He witnessed Christ’s resurrection and touched His scars. Thomas boldly took the risk of faith and responded with his life -- he became a martyr.
2. In a Rebecca St. James song her 8 year old brother says the following words: “Unless you have something to die for, you haven’t really lived.”
3. How do you respond to Jesus’ scars? His life, His hope, His grace?
4. Someone once said,
“You may be the only Jesus some people will ever see.”
Will people see His “grace-mark” on you?
We all have scars. Some physical, most invisible – but there never the less. We all have struggles. We all have daily problems. Being a Christian is simply not easy. And to make it worse, Satan is out to get us.
it is to know that Jesus has been through it all.
The Bible tells us that His grace is sufficient.
When I think of the concept of “Hallmark”, I can’t help but conclude with the Hallmark greeting card company’s slogan: note how it applies perfectly here. God truly did send us “His very best.”