Lessons from John 20: Peace Be With You
A few Sundays ago, my Pastor said something like this, God gave us a mind, a will, and our emotions. He gave us our mind to tell our will to get our emotions under control and just shut up!
Well, John 20:18 tells us that Mary indeed did as the Lord had commanded her and she went and told the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And then she shared with them all that He had said to her.
Which brings us to the last division in verse 19-31 where John tells us that on that first evening of that first day (so it’s the same day), when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, that Jesus came and stood among them and He said, “Peace be with you!”
Now, this should have reminded them of the upper room discourse when after teaching, training and trying to prepare them for what was to come and Jesus then closed by saying, “I have told you these things, so that you may have peace.” His peace! Why would they need His peace? Jesus says, “Because in this world you will have trouble.”
It’s a promise! Christians will have trouble as long as we live in this world. Now it doesn’t mean we make trouble, it means trouble will come! But that’s not the end, Jesus encourages them and us and go on to say, but take heart I have overcome the world.” Now that ladies is where we find our peace in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, the one who has overcome death, sin, and Satan! And though we may suffer the effects of this sin-stained world, He promises us His peace in the midst of it. Now that’s the good news of the Gospel!
Well, after Jesus had said this, He showed them His hands and side and John tells us that the disciples were overjoyed at the sight of the Lord.
And Again Jesus says to them in verse 21, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you!” Jesus now had not only commissioned Mary but now all the disciples and in order to fulfill that command in His strength and in His power and not their own, we are told that Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Now in Genesis 2:7 we are told that God breathed physical life into Adam, yet here Jesus breathed spiritual enablement for ministry in fulfillment of the passage in Ezekiel 37:14 where it says, “I will put my spirit in you,” which He did do and continues to do as people surrender their lives to Him in what we refer to as “new birth”. This was a partial fulfillment of Joel 3 and Ezekiel 37, in anticipation of the fuller enabling power that would come on the Day of Pentecost.
And this enabling power was so that they might go and preach the gospel of reconciliation, which Jesus had bought on the cross at Calvary.
Now, all of the disciples believed except one. And we are not told why Thomas was not with the others it may have been, Thomas still did not believe in spite of the many testimonies of the others. In fact, Thomas appears to have dug his heels into the ground so to speak, declaring that unless he too had a special appearance of the Lord himself, he refused to believe.
Yet, here Jesus meets Thomas where he was at, but not until a week later we are told in verse 26. And though the doors were still locked (evidence that it takes time to overcome our fears) Jesus came and stood among them again. And again, Jesus says, “Peace be with you!” And then He looks right at doubting Thomas and He repeats the words Thomas had spoken to the other disciples and says, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. And then stop doubting and believe.”
It’s ok to doubt!
Doubt encourages us to rethink and its purpose is more to sharpen the mind than to change it. Doubt can be used to pose a question, to get an answer or to push for a decision. But doubt was never meant to be a permanent condition. Doubt is one foot lifted, ready to step forward or backward. Yet, the is no motion until the foot comes down. So when you experience doubt, take encouragement from Thomas who didn’t stay in his doubt but rather moved forward in belief.
John closes this chapter by telling us that Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, but that they were too numerous to record here. But that his purpose in writing these was that you and I and every other reader might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you too may have life in His name.
Principle: God blesses all who believe in Jesus with eternal life.
The good news is that Jesus Christ did conquer death and because of that, ALL that believe in Him will be raised from the dead. Today we know we have seen Him because we see Jesus through eyes of faith. And we rejoice that our sins are forgiven: that our faith is rightly placed in our risen Savior, who is Christ the Lord! That my friends is the message He wants us all to hear. Have you heard the good news? Have you received it personally for yourself? The victory has been won! The question is, Have you entered into His victory through faith? If so, who is it that God is commanding you to go and tell and share the Gospel of Good News with?