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.
Have you locked your doors yet? Didn’t you hear that “gangs” are rising in Topeka - especially with the recent shootings that have been happening? If things keep on progressing we will run the risk of getting shot by just walking out of our front door. Even if you don’t have a credit card people can steal your identity and order credit cards - ruining your credit and your good name. If somebody trips on your sidewalk you could get sued. If you decide to get married, you have a fifty percent chance of getting divorced. This isn’t the worst of it. If America ends up high tailing it out of Iraq, I can guarantee you that the terrorists will be ever more emboldened to come over to America and unleash some more terror on us. Those same extremists who are kidnaping Americans in Iraq could be coming into your homes and taking you captive! Aren’t you afraid? You should be! Maybe it would be better if we just locked our doors and never went out into public, so someone doesn’t murder us, rape us, or steal our goods. Maybe America should lock down it’s borders so that no one can get in or out!