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, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” (
It is Holy Week—the calendar has brought us to recall the passion of Christ on Good Friday and how the darkness of the tomb yielded to the dawn of hope on Sunday. Death has been defeated—Jesus lives! While the morning had brought this startling news to the despairing disciples, we find that they were still wrestling with doubts that evening. Then the Risen Lord arrives to greet them and His words spoken then still have profound implications for us today.
Jesus lives and that means we can have PEACE (v.19, 21a). These are the first words He greets them with—and He repeats them to underscore their significance. His resurrection meant His followers now had peace with God. Jesus came to die—paying our sin debt of death by His crucifixion and demonstrating the purchase price accepted in His overcoming death by His resurrection. Jesus shows them the scars from the nails in His hands and spear in His side (v.20). This peace with God enables us to know the peace of God. They were barricaded in the Upper Room, “for fear of the Jews,” who had crucified their Master. Jesus calls them to courage. “Because He lives I can face tomorrow; Because He lives all fear is gone.” (Bill and Gloria Gaither)
Jesus lives and that means we can offer PRAISE (v.20). Their sorrow was swept away by the resurrection reality. Gloom was replaced by gladness. Christians have a reason to rejoice. We can sing the happy chorus of
1 Corinthians 15:55, “O
Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” It makes me want to jump up and
shout! We worship on the first day of
the week because He lives. The people of
God do not gather for a funeral, but a festival! Hallelujah, Christ arose!
Jesus lives and that means we now have PURPOSE (v.21). Because death is not the end of life, what we do in this life counts for eternity! This gives us a purpose for this world that extends to the world to come. We are not simply animals surviving day to day until the last breath in a meaningless pursuit of mere existence, but as we obey heaven’s mandate we are living for eternal reward. In the same way that Jesus had a purpose in coming into this world, He has commissioned us to share the message of redemption!
Jesus lives and that means we can experience POWER (v.22). His call to go to the ends of the earth with the Gospel is too large an assignment for human strength alone. The good news is He has breathed His Holy Spirit into us—all the power we need to be all He wants us to be and accomplish all He wants us to do.
Jesus lives and that means we have a PROCLAMATION (v.23). There is good news to announce. The church can authoritatively decree that if a person believes in the Risen Christ their sins are remitted. The converse is true also—if Christ is rejected then sins are retained bringing judgment. How have you responded to this proclamation?