In the final two chapters of John's Gospel, we have something of a "Just say 'Yes'" campaign. We see three different people interacting with the resurrected Jesus. Each must move past their initial uncertainties to the point where they can respond affirmatively to the risen Christ.
When Mary comes to embalm Jesus, she sees the empty tomb and panics. Running to the disciples, she tells them,"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" Peter and John race to the tomb; but after seeing that it is indeed empty, they leave. Mary, bereft, stays at the tomb weeping. John's description of her meeting with Jesus is poignant as it highlights joy against despair.
She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).
Mary was a principle witness to Jesus' death on the cross. She had stood and watched his body being laid in the tomb. Now, her expectations and understanding were blown away.
"Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
And that is when Mary joyfully makes the choice to set aside her expectations and just say YES! to the resurrection. She went to disciples and told them: "I have seen the Lord!"
Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
Thomas lays aside his skepticism and says YES! to worshiping Jesus. The fact that Jesus receives this worship affirms His divinity.
Peter was eager to believe the resurrection. He raced to the tomb when he first hears Mary's report; and when Peter is out fishing and realizes that Jesus is on shore, he leaps in the water and rushes to meet him. There on the beach, Jesus feeds the disciples breakfast with the fish that had been caught.
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time... He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
Peter doesn't doubt the resurrection. His doubts more likely reside in himself. His three-fold denial of Jesus on the night of the arrest must weigh heavily on him and cause him to doubt his place as a disciple. No wonder he went back to fishing! But in this three-fold affirmation of love, Jesus is clearly calling him to a ministry of serving God. He even expresses certainty in Peter's perseverance by asserting that Peter will follow Him to a death by crucifixion. Peter not only says "Yes!" to following Jesus, but he says "Yes!" to the power of the resurrection in His life—power that will carry him beyond his own strengths and weaknesses.
These three show us the power and delight in
just saying "Yes!" to Jesus.