Summary: Following Jesus' crucifixion, the disciples hid within the Upper Room, fearful of the Jews and uncertain of their future. In their time of need, Jesus came, standing their midst, while speaking to their situation. I am thankful He remains in the midst of our struggles as well.
In the midst of our Struggles
John 20: 19-29
As believers, we are aware that Jesus will never leave us, nor will He ever forsake us. Those who have been saved by His grace are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. He is our constant companion and guide. While we may not always be aware of the Lord’s presence, He is always near to us. The Bible promises that the Lord will be near to those who are struggling in life or dealing with pain associated with the circumstances of life. Psalm 34:18 – The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
There are multiple passages in Scripture where it is undeniable that the Lord was in the midst of His people, providing for their particular needs. We are never alone in the journey, and we need not fear facing life apart from His divine guidance and provision. As I pondered the Lord being that ever-present help in our time of need, I decided to search for those passages that specifically declare that Jesus was in the midst. Our text today in one of those passages. The opening verses of the passage take place on the evening of Jesus’ glorious resurrection. The concluding verses take place eight days later. In both instances, the disciples were dealing with the most difficult situation they had ever faced. The Lord had died upon the cross, and although He had promised to rise again from the dead, the disciples dealt with doubt and uncertainty. At this moment, it appeared all their hopes and dreams had been buried with Jesus, and they were unsure of the future. The disciples were struggling with their current situation and their faith.
This is a passage that all can relate. While we were not there the day Jesus rose from the grave, or even the week following His resurrection, we too have struggled with situations in life that challenged our faith. In the coming weeks, I want to examine some of the passages that deal with Jesus being in the midst. As we look at the details of this encounter, I want to consider: In the midst of our Struggles.
I. The Apprehension of the Fearful (19-23) – On the evening of the resurrection we find the disciples gathered in the Upper Room with the door closed because they feared the Jews. At this moment, the disciples faced an uncertain future. They knew how the Jews and Pilate had treated the Lord, and they were fearful they might face a similar fate, being followers of Jesus. In the midst of their fear, Jesus came into their midst. We discover that:
A. Jesus Appeared to Them (19) – Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. As the disciples hid in fear, locked within the Upper Room, Jesus came and stood in their midst. They were dealing with doubt, having heard that Jesus had risen, but they had difficulty believing Jesus was alive. In the midst of their fear and doubt, Jesus came unto them. This wasn’t a dream, it was the Lord; He was there in their midst. Their hope was revived as Jesus stood among them.
We are never far from the Lord, although we tend to forget that He is near at all times, in every situation. Acts 17:27-28a – That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: [28a] For in him we live, and move, and have our being. Psalm 145:18 – The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. Seek the Lord in your time of need; He is nearer than you think! He will come near to you and provide in your times of doubt and fear!
B. Jesus Comforted Them (19b) – Jesus…stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. Can you imagine how they must’ve felt? If they ever needed the peace of God, it was now. They were fearful and afraid, unsure of what the future would hold. In their moment of greatest need, Jesus comforted them with His abundant peace.
Aren’t you glad for the peace of the Lord? There have been times when I faced an uncertain future, with doubt filling my mind, but Jesus showed up and brought peace to my soul. The problem may have still been there, but Jesus gave real peace. When our lives are in turmoil, and doubt has crept in, we need to look to Jesus to calm the storms of life.