Summary: A perspective on John 20: 19-23. Jesus showed them his hands and side, the scars of his torment and death on the cross. This would have been an uncomfortable moment for them as they remembered their failures, abandonment, and lack of faith in Jesus.
John 20: 19-23
Scars To Show
The Gospel of John was written at about A.D. 85 a considerable number of years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was written at a time when Christians were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus, the Son of God. John wrote the Gospel not only for his own Christian community but also for all Christians everywhere and for all times. In part, he wrote it to deal with their fears and suffering, and to strengthen their faith in Jesus as a way to restore life in them. It is in this context that we examine the Bible text before us.
It is written that the disciples had come together in the upper room, they had locked the door for fear of the Jews. In the midst of their fears Jesus came and stood amongst them and said, “Peace be with you!” They were the first words of the resurrected Jesus to his disciples. When Jesus says something, it becomes a reality. He has the power to change our lives. Those words “Peace be with you!” would have had a calming effect upon the disciples. They are healing words, comforting words; they are words that are the fruit of forgiveness and of restored relationships.
After Jesus had comforted them, he showed them his hands and side, the scars of his torment and death on the cross. This would have been an uncomfortable moment for them as they remembered their failures, abandonment, and lack of faith in Jesus. That was a time when their fears robbed them of life and left them with guilt. That moment of remembrance in the upper room was short lived as Jesus’ words to them, “Peace be with you” turned their fear and guilt into joy. They had received forgiveness through the giving of the peace. Furthermore, when Jesus showed them his hands and side it also meant that he had overcome death, and that there is life after death. Jesus revealed himself as the Lord of eternal life for everyone. His appearance in the upper room gave them the encouragement and confidence to step out of their fear and into life with him. His presence in their midst and the giving of peace turned their fear into joy.
Like the disciples, we too have fears, various kinds of fears that keep us locked away from life. Through fear we can make wrong decisions in our life that can lead us into further pain. Sometimes, decisions made in fear are made because of the lack of faith in Jesus and his promise of life for us all. We all have various fears in our life for example: talking to people even here in our congregation, a fear in public speaking, a fear of talking about Jesus to others, a fear for the well being of our children, a fear in saying sorry, a fear of cancer, a fear of pain and death, a fear in starting something new, a fear of financial loss and insecurity, and then there are the numerous phobias of snakes, spiders, elevators and so on. The list is endless in the things that inhibit us from a fulfilled life and rob us of peace. In the words to his disciples, Jesus also says to you, “Peace be with you!”