Messages from Pastor Raddatz

April 11, 2021 Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Houston TX

THE GIFT OF PEACE, John 20:19-31

      The State of Missouri is known as “THE SHOW ME STATE”.  While much of the state's history is tied to the mighty rivers that flow through it, the "Show Me State" got its nickname because of the devotion of its people to simple common sense. In 1899, Rep. Willard D. Vandiver said, "Frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri. You've got to show me." It is easy to imagine President Thomas Jefferson saying "show me" as he sent Lewis and Clark forth on their trek into the uncharted Louisiana Purchase territory. Their 8,000-mile journey westward and back, which some claim was the greatest U.S. military expedition ever, began in St. Charles, Missouri -- just 20 miles west of St. Louis -- in 1804 and ended when they returned to St. Louis, Missouri in 1806.  (

Seeing is believing” some people say.  God calls us to walk by faith and not by sight.

(That the hearers may know): While we may fear and doubt, Jesus comes to us and shows himself to us verifying that we have peace with God and peace with one another.


It is said, “Seeing is believing”, we might agree.   I thank God that our Gospel reading shares the honesty of Thomas.  He wants to see the Lord and experience his presence.  Jesus comes to him and says touch me Thomas.  He responds in worship, “My Lord and my God”.

            EVIDENCE NEEDED – In the Old Testament we are given evidence of this need to see and believe.  

            The expression “putting out a fleece” comes from Judges 6:33-40 where Gideon requests God’s guarantee of victory through two tests. In the first test Gideon puts a fleece garment on the ground and asks God to miraculously cause dew to only collect on the garment, not on the rest of the ground. In the second test, Gideon reverses the test- now he asks for fleece to be dry and the ground to be covered with dew.  God assures Gideon.

Many Christians have taken this narrative as a positive and adopted the practice of “putting out a fleece”- testing God in order to determine his will. For example, in a dating relationship someone might say, “God, if they send me a card in the next 6 hours, then I’ll know you want me to marry them.” Yikes.

            Putting out a fleece is a slippery slope.  It shows immaturity.  God meets us where we are but does not let us stay there.


            Jesus being the word of God made flesh (John 1:1) and God with us, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).  Through Jesus we have received grace upon grace.

            Thomas knows this, but he needs assurance. Jesus comes right through the locked doors.  He is not stopped by human devices.  He invites Thomas to touch his hands and his sides.  Thomas responds in worship, “MY LORD AND MY GOD”.

Jesus is always present with us.  The divine takes on flesh, but the divine nature is not diminished by the flesh.   The two natures, both divine and human are inseparably joined in one person.  There is one Christ, true God and true man (AC III1-2).

Still, there are times when we need assurance.  God is gracious and merciful.  

  1. He gives us his word in the Bible
  2. He allows us to taste and touch his presence in Holy Communion
  3. He can work miraculously when and where he wants.   


            The peace we have is between us and God.  God has reconciled himself to our need for a savior and our need for proof of his saving love.  Peace is like a still lake, but it is also pictured as a thundering waterfall which falls near a tree, and in this tree is a nest with a bird asleep.  Peace is a calm that we have even when storms are around us.

            The peace we have is between us and God and between one another.  That is if both want the peace that God gives.  If one party does not want reconciliation, then peace is extremely difficult or nearly impossible.

            Jesus has shown us the evidence we need.  He has risen!  He has risen indeed!!  Alleluia!!!   He has a journey for us.  He has a purpose for us.  It is to live out his gift of peace.  

Thanks be to God,

John Raddatz, Pastor

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