Summary: Jesus resurrection gives us peace in the midst of threats and violence.
April 18, 2004 John 20:19-31
When you’re having a bad day, people love to encourage us with these little sayings like, “hang in there, it’ll be ok.” As you leave, people will say, “have a good one.” Whereas these trite expressions are spoken with good intentions, what good do they do? I can tell somebody who’s having a hard time at his job that “it’ll all work out,” but how do I know that? I can say to someone, “have a good day,” but I can’t make it happen. So what good does it do? Not much. It’s just a “cliche`” that we often use, when we don’t know what else to say.
Three times in our text for today, Jesus said, “peace be with you!” This was not just a trite expression or a sweet nothing. When Jesus says, “peace be with you,” it means much more. Jesus has the power to give you the peace that He wishes for you. So when Jesus says to you today, “Peace Be With You,” you can take it to heart.
Peace Be With You!
I. When you face fears and doubts
Jesus spoke these words originally to the disciples on the evening of his resurrection. It had been a strenuous weekend for them, to say the least. They had seen the rage of the Jews take it’s full course, as they sent Jesus to the cross for crimes He did not commit. They had to sit around for a whole day during the Sabbath, just thinking about what had happened, waiting to go back out to the tomb . . . anxious, worried, contemplating the future of their existence. Then once they had gotten out to the tomb, their dead master was not there. Rumor had it that He was actually alive, and had shown himself to the women and a few disciples. In spite of this they were still afraid. The same blood thirsty Jews who had come after their leader, were now coming after them. This meeting that they were having was forbidden. Yet they were willing to risk it all, even their own lives, just to meet together with their fellow believers. The only thing standing between them and death was a lock on a door. If I had to stake my life on a lock on a door, I would not be too secure. Anybody could have broken down that door. So they were living in fear. The Jews could come any minute, any second. They had no peace.
It was at this tense moment, that Jesus stepped into the picture and entered their room. Some say Jesus climbed up a ladder and through a window; or descended from the roof down a stairway; or sneaked into the house before the doors were locked; or slipped in when the two disciples from Emmaus were let in; or was allowed to come in through the connivance of the doorkeeper. All these agree in denying a miracle. Jesus didn’t find a secret entrance. Jesus miraculously appeared in the middle of the room out of nowhere and said, “Peace be with you.”
Only Jesus could pull this off. If somebody popped up in the middle of my bedroom at night and said, “peace be with you!”, I’d probably jump through the ceiling. But it wasn’t Jesus’ purpose to startle them. It was His purpose to assure them that he had everything under control. Once they saw who it was that was with them, they could rest easy. Jesus, their master, their leader, and as Thomas later on said, their “God”, was still with them, stronger than ever. They could rest easy knowing that Jesus was protecting them. They didn’t need to fear anything anymore. They could be at peace.