John 20:19-20: On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
At a time when we find ourselves hunkered in our homes for fear of a deadly virus, this passage offers us some solace and scriptural grounding. Here the disciples have locked themselves inside for fear that the Jews would find them and kill them. In this dark moment, Jesus lights the way forward. His interaction with the disciples, though short, reframes reality and breathes new life into their weary and worried souls.
Peace be with you
One can only imagine the shocked expressions on the disciples’ faces when Jesus appeared in their locked down shelter. Jesus, knowing the human response to such an unexpected event is fear, spoke peace to them. He didn’t rebuke them for their fear, but rather comforted them in it. His words likely helped their souls bend into the greater truth that Peace was actually with them. Peace wasn’t a state they could fall in and out of, but rather a Person who had called them His own.
As Jesus was with the disciples when they felt most abandoned, so also Jesus dwells near to us in this isolating season. Jesus knows where we are. He knows our pains and grief. He is there, and He will not abandon us.
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.
But Jesus doesn’t stop with words. He gives the disciples physical evidence of the peace He is providing. In directing the disciples to his scarred hands and side, Jesus shows them death has been beaten. The fear that drove the disciples to hide behind locked doors has been conquered. Jesus died and resurrected proving that death doesn’t get the last word. Jesus provides in the moment everything the disciples need to let go of their fear.
Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
In the book of Acts, we see a group of disciples radically changed by Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. These same disciples who hid in fear of death become unphased by earthly threats and even rejoiced in their suffering for the sake of Christ. The risk to their lives didn’t change. Rather, their view of death forever shifted at the sight of the risen Christ. A meeting with Jesus while they hid in fear set them on a course to be changed and in that process change the world.
May we, like the disciples, live with the scars of Jesus at the forefront of our mind. He paid the price. He suffered on our behalf. He has robbed death of its power so we can live with godly confidence even in the midst of trials and difficulties.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?