Summary: At the first Easter we recognize many of the elements that we associate with our celebration of Christmas.
Jesus, the God-man: Gospel of John
“Christmas Comes at Easter”
Introduction: In less than 2 months it will be Christmas again. It seems like this time last year we were thinking that. For many, Christmas is their favorite holiday. The reason they give is because they can spend time with their families, the festive friendly atmosphere, and the chance to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. But we know why, don’t we? It’s the presents! Everyone likes to get gifts and to feel the love behind the giving of those gifts.
I like Christmas, but if it were not for the fact that Jesus rose from the dead then Christmas would not mean as much. At Easter we celebrate the gift of eternal life which was purchased on the cross for us. The first Easter we recognize many of the elements that we associate with our celebration of Christmas as we see “Christmas comes at Easter.”
1. Jesus gave gifts to His disciples. (vv. 19-23)
“same day at evening” – John uses Roman time so evening follows day rather than day following evening. Jewish time started in the evening which is why days of creation stated “evening and morning were the first day, etc.
Easter evening and the disciples were hiding out for fear of the Jewish religious leaders. The doors are shut and perhaps barricaded. But in the midst of this they discover something (rather Someone) that is scarier than that – a risen Savior!
Jesus stood in the middle of them. He did not use the door, He just appeared! YIKES!
He then gives the first of three gifts – “Peace”. He gave this because at this point they would have been anything but. It is terrifying to have the One you abandoned and thought dead to suddenly appear in front of you!
The Hebrew word is Shalom. He gave Shalom and not shame. He appears and the first word is “peace”, not rebuke, scorn, questions, or condemnation – Peace!
But isn’t that what was promised on that first Christmas 33 years before? What did the angels promise the shepherds?
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:14
Of what are you afraid? What scares and frightens you? I guess that’s a good question for this time of year isn’t it? Jesus promises peace, but you will notice that peace only comes from the presence of Jesus. In the presence of Jesus there is peace!
v. 20 – He then shows them His hands and side. He is giving proof that He is real. He is not a ghost or hallucination. In Luke’s gospel He eats in front of them.
Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
THEN they were glad! I think this is funny. Up to this point they were terrified and still unnerved but after they examined Him and watched Him eat, THEN they were glad.
We too should be the same. When we are in the Lord’s presence we too should be glad.