Bible Reading: John 20:19-23
On that same Sunday evening when Mary Magdalene had met with Jesus early in the morning, Jesus appeared to His disciples. Because it was the first day of the week, and the Sabbath was passed, the disciples were afraid that the Jewish leaders, who crucified Jesus, would blame them for His missing body and come to arrest them. The Jewish leaders had already fabricated a story and bribed the Roman soldiers saying, “Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept’” [Matthew 28:12].
In fear, the disciples were assembled in a room behind a locked door. The Greek word used here for door is ‘thuron’ meaning ‘large’ and ‘solid’. The Greek word translated as ‘shut’ is the word ‘klaio’ meaning ‘locked’. Doors of this kind were usually locked with a heavy bolt that slid through rings attached to both the door and frame. This door would be almost impossible to break down. The disciples were hiding for self-preservation and protection. These were the men that Jesus would shortly be commissioning!
Suddenly Jesus came, supernaturally, through the door, and stood in the midst of them. There are no doors too hard for Jesus to walk through. I can’t imagine what the disciples must have thought. They would have certainly been expecting censure and rebuke for their behaviour and the way in which they had abandoned Jesus, but instead He spoke peace to them. “Peace be with you,” was the normal Hebrew greeting. He was speaking peace into their past failures, and peace into their present fears. It is that “peace of God that passes all understanding” [Philippians 4:7].
Then Jesus did something very important. He revealed His hands and His side to the disciples. Many years ago in Indonesia missionaries gave a Bible to an Imam. He would often go to the rice fields, carrying this Bible, and in quietness read and seek to understand it. One day, as he was reading the Bible at the edge of a rice field, Jesus came, and revealed Himself to the Imam. That Imam, from that very moment became a follower of Jesus, even though it would mean spending years in prison. It was a revelation of Jesus that changed this man’s life and brought great joy to His disciples.
Jesus is going to tell them what He wants them to do in the future. It is called the Great Commission. He is going to send them out in the same way that the Father sent Him. We will look at this commission more closely tomorrow, but notice that Jesus said, “Peace to you” [John 20:21] a second time. A few moments earlier Jesus spoke peace into their past failures, and their present fears. Now he speaks peace into their future. What a tremendous privilege to know His peace where there had been failures, fear and uncertain future!
What was the answer to the disciple’s self-preservation and fear? Why do you think that Jesus didn’t rebuke His disciples, but instead spoke peace to them?
What are the things that might cause you to be afraid? How can you deal with these, and so instead of fear enjoy God’s peace? [See Isaiah 26:3]