Summary: The Resurrection is often quickly forgotten: This series spends 6 weeks viewing Jesus' Resurrection ministry.
“A Resurrection Pledge and Proclamation”
Resurrection Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the dead, is often quickly forgotten, and so are the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost. Over the next 6 weeks we are going to study “The Forgotten Fifty Days”, that period of Jesus Resurrection Ministry, appearing for 40 days to hundreds of people, culminating in His Ascension back into Heaven, and ten days later, the arrival of His Omnipresent Holy Spirit.
Today we look at John 20:19-20: “On the evening of that first day of the week, (the same day that Jesus arose) when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, (the disciples were afraid that the Jews would arrest them and bring charges against them that would bring them the same results to them that Jesus had endured, so they were scared and hidden in LOCK-DOWN!) And “Jesus came and stood among them (He just appeared!) and said, "Peace be with you!" 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
1. The Positive Proof of Peace in the Person
FEAR GRIPPED the disciples, and you could hardly blame them: They had witnessed how quickly the tide of public opinion had done a complete turn-around, how the same King Jesus who had ridden into Jerusalem amid CHEERS had been railroaded to the cross amid JEERS. He was crucified and buried, and according to the other Gospels, on this same day Jesus had appeared to Mary Magdalene, to the two men on the road to Emmaus, and now behind locked doors, He suddenly appears before other disciples, but He is in a NEW resurrected body which bore the VISIBLE scars of His wounded hands and side: He gave POSITIVE PROOF of God’s Peace in His own PERSON, that the “God with us”, INCARNATE MESSIAH, PRINCE of PEACE, was INDEED RISEN and that HE IS the King of Peace, the God of Peace. He was not a ghost but the resurrected person of Jesus.
This greeting of Jesus became an everyday expression among Greek Christians (the word is Eirene: i-ray'-nay) but the same greeting had been used for centuries among the Jews. It was “Shalom!” Peace be to you! How welcome were those open arms and wounded hands to the disciples who had abandoned Jesus in His greatest time of need! How assuring were the words: “Peace be to you!”
We read that the disciples were “overjoyed” (CHAIRO) to see Jesus! They REJOICED, filled to overflowing with joy. Pouring over. Remember the word for rejoice, CHAIRO, is associated with the word CHARA (joy), CHARIS (grace), and EUCHARISTEO (give thanks). If Jesus had NOT risen, we would not know that we had Peace with God. The PROOF of PEACE with God is in the very Person of the RISEN REDEEMER, the Lord Jesus Christ. The altar of Christ’s Cross, where the Son of God bled and died became the fulfillment of the Old Testament name of Gideon’s altar back in Judges 6:24: “THE LORD IS PEACE!” The angel’s declaration in the heavens at Jesus’ birth (Glory to God in the highest AND PEACE on earth in whom He is well-pleased.”) has been fulfilled in Jesus’ Reappearance after His resurrection. His Kingdom is alive and well because THE KING OF PEACE LIVES! Glory to HIS Name!
It is why the greetings to believers in the epistles is this: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” Sin and death have been conquered by the King and so the greeting of Jesus is: The Peace of God be with you! I have made peace with God For You through my sacrifice, and MY resurrection is the PROOF!
2. The Pledge of His Constant, Powerful and Peaceful Presence
Look at John 20:21: “AGAIN Jesus said, "Peace be with you! (Jesus gives the greeting again to doubly assure His disciples and US that God’s peace is with those who believe in Him.) As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Now, don’t be shortsighted or nearsighted here; Jesus is certainly giving the Pledge of His Constant, Powerful and Peaceful Presence, but do you recognize the PURPOSE for this peace of God and the Power of His Spirit. It is not only so that you will be without fear of God’s wrath against sin. It is not only so that you will feel safe in a fearful world. He is not only the protection that you feel BEHIND closed doors but He is the OPEN DOOR to the Father. In the same way that the Son was sent into the world with the Message of the GOSPEL to a dying world, YOU are being sent into the world with the same message.