Peace From The Living Shepherd

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

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.” Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John 20:19-31

The disciples had been through so very much in that last week and now this! This moment when Jesus appeared to them in the flesh must have been incredibly overwhelming. And yet when Jesus greets them he says, “Peace be with you.” The Greek literally says, “Peace for you!” And Jesus doesn’t just say it once, he again follows up almost immediately, “Peace be with you!” This is the risen Messiah, the savior of the world, God himself saying to them, “Relax!  Be at peace!” Can you imagine how comforting that must have been? It must have been incredible! Jesus doesn’t come in badgering them or disappointed in them. He doesn’t come in and say, “C’mon guys! What are you afraid of?!” No!  He comes in and comforts! He says “Peace be with you!” 

We can relate to those disciples who were locked in that room. At some time or another we’ve all felt worried, trapped, scared, afraid…you name it! We’ve been there! We know what it’s like not to have peace! That’s what make’s Jesus’ words so amazing! That peace wasn’t just for the disciples in that locked room! It’s for every person who believes that Jesus is their savior from sin! It’s a real peace! It’s a peace that lasts every day of our lives on this earth and for an eternity in heaven! It’s a peace that overcomes fear!

But, you know what? This peace does more than just overcome fear! One of the disciples wasn’t there the first time Jesus came. His name was Thomas. And when the disciples told him what had happened he said, “No way! You’re crazy! I’ll never believe it unless I see Jesus with my own eyes!” Then a week later, the disciples are in the same house with the doors locked again, only this time Thomas is with them! Jesus shows up and says, “Peace be with you!” He doesn’t come in and shake Thomas, “Are you happy now! Here I am!” No! He comes in and offers Thomas the same greeting he had offered the rest of the disciples the week before! Jesus won that peace for people who fearhe won that peace for people who worryhe won that peace for people who doubt.

That’s what this was all about! Everything the disciples had experienced with Jesus the previous 3 yearsEverything they had gone through the week beforeEverything that Jesus had sufferedit was all to bring peace to God’s people! Not some idealistic, imaginary peacebut real peace! It’s the peace that comes from the forgiveness of sins. It’s the peace that comes from knowing our Savior will raise us to life for an eternity in heaven. Peace that overcomes fear and peace that replaces doubt! Peace for our lives here on this earth, and peace for an eternity in heaven!  Thank the Lord for that peace!

Looking forward to digging into this peace with you some more this Sunday,

Pastor Z.