Jn 20:19-21; Mt 28:18-20
The days following Jesus’ death and crucifixion were some of the lowest and highest points in each of the disciple’s life. For many of the disciples, they spent close to three years witnessing Jesus share God’s Word, heal the broken, and show love to a lost, sinful world. They witnessed and believed who Jesus said he was, the Son of God, the awaited Messiah. Now, after Jesus’ death, the disciples find themselves hidden, afraid, and uncertain of what to do next as seen in John 20:19.
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews.
Our recently retired Pastor Phil, would always say he never had an original thought (which I would disagree), but he was faithful to always to remind the church what they needed to hear through these consistent words of wisdom. One of Pastor’s reminders was, “It’s not if you go through trials, but when you go through trials.” We find ourselves outside of the norm of what life has looked like as we continue to walk through this pandemic trial. For almost everyone, it has affected their lives in some way, some harder than others. As we see with the disciples, God wants us to understand that He is in everything. He has a plan, even if we find ourselves like His disciples, afraid and unsure. We should find it comforting to see what Jesus said to his disciples, even as they doubted the news of Jesus’ resurrection.
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.
Peace be with you
First off, if anyone was to appear to me in this manner, especially someone that was recently crucified and buried, I would probably need to to be told to relax as well. Jesus actually had to repeat this command as his disciples were probably in absolute astonishment and fear at what they were seeing. As Jesus revealed his wounds, he quickly brought joy and peace to their troubled hearts.
I believe so often God comes to us in our trials and God reminds us with a soft, still voice to have peace. It’s when we look at Jesus, our only Hope, that our heaviness, anxiety or fear goes away. Through prayer and reading His Word, God speaks to us in these times of trial and we find a peace beyond our understanding.
God has plans for you
Jesus knew that his disciples were afraid. He knew they were struggling with doubt. Just days before, as Jesus was being accused and crucified, most of his followers were nowhere to be found. But Jesus, showing such love and grace to his disciples, reminded them that He had a plan for them. He was not going to leave them alone. In John 14, Jesus promised that he would not leave them as orphans. Not only would he not leave them, he would provide them a Helper forever. The Holy Spirit would give them this same peace, teach them and lead them as Christ led them. God provides this same Helper to all his children. He does not want to live a life hidden in fear or shame. He has a plan for you to live a life abundantly for His glory.
God wants you to share this great news
John 20:21b ..I am sending you.
Matthew 28:18-20 1 8 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 t eaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
These disciples had just witnessed the greatest news, the resurrected Christ. Jesus Christ had conquered death and his resurrection had shown the world that he was the Messiah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The gift of Christ Jesus, this new covenant, was not just for the Jews, but for all that would trust and believe that Jesus Christ was the way, the truth and the life. With the Helper, Christ told his disciples to go, in his name, and tell the world of this great news. This same great news is the same today! God, through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, extends this gift of grace to those that trust and believe in what Christ did in his death, burial and resurrection. I believe the challenge we should take from this is that Christ did not die so that we could bury this hidden treasure. He wants us to see the value of Christ Jesus as found in Matthew 13:44-46. He wants us to see that Jesus is worthy of our lives, even through the trials, and we should joyfully share it with others until Christ returns!