Summary: Jesus gave his disciples 3 things that day that created peace for men without peace. What did the disciples learn that day that can help us gain Christ's peace?
OPEN: Dr. Don Colbert wrote a book called “Stress Less” and noted that 75 to 90 % of all visits to a primary care physicians were stress related. Americans (he said) consume five billion tranquilizers, five billion barbiturates, three billion amphetamines, and sixteen tons of aspirin every year. Much of this 'medicine' is being taken to help alleviate stress or the resulting headaches and pain associated with stress!
What causes stress? Stress is caused by - Worry and fear. What causes worry and fear? Well worry and fear happen when there’s something that is happening…or CAN happen… that I can’t control. You could be worrying about your job, your family, your health, your finances, or your possessions (that you might lose one of them). Essentially, there’s something you can’t control or you’ve lost control or… and panic sets in.
ILLUS: A few years ago I went to the dentist. He put this mask over my nose and tells me to breathe deeply of the gas. It was supposed to help me RELAX as he worked on my teeth. Apparently, it works for lots of folks… but not for me. As the gas began to go thru my system, I felt like I was losing control of my body… and I began to panic.
That’s how a lot of people react when they believe there’s something in their lives they can’t control.
In our text today, we’re told that “On … the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews…” John 20:19
The doors are locked. Why are the doors locked? Because the disciples are afraid! Why are they afraid? They’re afraid because the Jews had had Jesus put to death and Disciples are pretty sure they’re next. They’re worried, they’re stressed out, they have no control over their fate… they’ve begun to panic!
Now was their FEAR real? Well… it’s possible. Someone one said: “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean someone’s not out to get me.” A lot of really dangerous and powerful people had wanted Jesus destroyed. And it wasn’t unreasonable to believe these same people would want destroy to them too. But whether their fear was justified or not… they’ve locked the door, barred the windows, and they’re HIDING in this room. And they ARE afraid!
And then Jesus shows up. And He gives them… PEACE.
Jesus had promised “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
And in Matthew He said “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
One of the major prophecies about the coming Messiah in Isaiah declared…: “unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; … and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, prince of PEACE. Of the increase of his government AND OF PEACE THERE WILL BE NO END.” Isaiah 9:6-7
And that’s why Peter wrote: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7
(PAUSE) Now, that’s great theology! That’s wonderful stuff! But just exactly HOW do we do lay hold of His peace?
Well, I believe the answer to that question is part of the reason we’re being told this story about the disciples in John 20. They’re not feeling “the peace” right now. They’re afraid and their lives have fallen apart. But then… Jesus shows up. And Jesus does some things that change their lives (PAUSE)… and can change ours too!
Notice the first thing Jesus does: He appears to them and says “Peace be with you.” And He doesn’t say it just once… he says it twice. Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “peace be with you.” ... Jesus said to them again, “peace be with you.” John 20:19-21
Now, in some religious circles, this is a religious greeting. When Muslims greet one another they’ll often say “Peace be unto you.” And the reply will be “peace be also upon you.”
But that’s not what’s going on here though. This is not a greeting. This a declaration. This a promise. Earlier in His ministry Jesus said: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
That’s what Jesus had said back then, BUT now - in this locked room - Jesus has come so that they can have that peace. It’s like He’s saying “peace IS with you!”
What exactly has Jesus DONE that would give them peace? Well, 1st He was THERE with them.