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Seeds of the Kingdom

Jesus Doesn’t Name and Shame

by Annalene Holtzhausen

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.
John 20:27, NKJV

John Chapter 20 is the wonderful account about Jesus’ resurrection after His death by crucifixion. He first appeared to Mary (John 20:16) and then to His disciples. One of the disciples, Thomas, was not with the others when Jesus appeared to them, and stated that He wouldn’t believe that Jesus had, in fact, appeared to them unless he saw the wounds in Jesus’ hands and side.

Jesus had just been through the most horrific torture. He had been beaten, flogged, taunted, mocked, slapped, betrayed, deserted, humiliated and crucified (John Chapter 19). He died a sinner’s death. The Son of God did all this for our salvation. Upon His resurrection, He was glorified by His Father and lifted into heavenly places that we cannot even imagine. Jesus had all the right in the world to be so angry, hugely offended, prideful and vindictive.

When Jesus appeared to the disciples eight days later, Thomas was with them (verse 26). Jesus could easily have shamed and mocked Thomas for doubting His resurrection and for not believing Him (even after He had warned the disciples about all the things that were going to happen to Him). But this is not our Lord’s way. He stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” He then told Thomas to feel the wounds on His hands and in His side. Jesus met Thomas in his place of doubt and strengthened his faith in doing so. Jesus isn’t the one who named Thomas as the unbelieving disciple. We are the ones who do that.

In John 21, we read the beautiful account of Jesus appearing to His disciples beside the Sea of Galilee. They had been fishing all night, but had caught nothing. Jesus told them to throw their net out on the other side of the boat, which they then did and the net was so full that they couldn’t haul it in. When Simon Peter realised that it was the Lord speaking to them, he put on his tunic, jumped into the water, and headed to the shore (John 21:7).

Previously, in John Chapter 18, we read about Simon Peter’s betrayal of Jesus before His crucifixion, and we can only try to imagine how remorseful Peter must have felt when he realised what he had done. But meeting him here on the beach, Jesus wasn’t angry or disappointed. He didn’t shame him or make him feel worse than he already was.

Jesus waited for them on the beach: “When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them - fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.”

If this is Jesus’ way, who are we to ‘name and shame’ people? Who are we to set ourselves above people and to humiliate and belittle them for their flaws and failings? Jesus always has a better way, and His way is one of acknowledgment and acceptance.

Annalene Holtzhausen is on the Associate Team at Ellel, Africa. She is married to Renier, who introduced her to Ellel Ministries. She is a full-time mother to their two boys. Her passion is for the restoration of women’s hearts and for people to find their worth in the Lord.

 

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