PEACE BE WITH YOU! Following the morning Resurrection of Jesus, this incredible account is recorded in John 20:19-20: “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”
For many of us, this important time is often skipped over because it isn’t viewed as one of the pivotal appointments of the Almighty for His Son. Nothing could be further from the truth. For it is at that specific point in time that Jesus the Christ speaks TO the body of Christ, AS the Body of Christ.
No, that’s not a tongue-twister, but it IS a mind-bender. Of all the words He could have spoken, “Peace be with you!” takes on a whole new meaning following the Death, Burial and Resurrection of the Only Begotten Son of God!
Then, Jesus displayed His own body as physical proof of His bodily resurrection. We humans need that. PROOF. As much as we want to believe, and “confess” to believe, where is that Proof! Indeed, many of us “Christians” today who WANT TO BELIEVE and PROFESS TO BELIEVE just can’t quite make it there.
“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” verses 21-22.
How is Jesus sending His disciples forth into the world? By literally breathing life from His own body into His chosen! What an incredible physical/spiritual picture we have been gifted with in this awesome narrative. The Holy Spirit coming from the Father and the Son, flowing through us, is the ONLY way we can ever accomplish the will of the Father in this world.
Jesus went on to clarify what had happened and why. “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
As they ministered the Good News of Jesus the Christ, they were fully creditable, having received the forgiving power of the Holy Spirit emanating from Jesus Himself directly on them on that day. They would not be speaking about what they didn’t know to be truth. The Holy Spirit, the “Ruach Adonai”, the very Breath of God who breathed life into man at creation, now breathed life into their mortal bodies and souls as they were freed from their sins!
Now they finally understood the truth that if sins were NOT forgiven, they would remain that way FOREVER…lifeless! Jesus had said earlier in John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”
While the manifestation of the Power of the Holy Spirit was given in Acts 2 at Pentecost, this scripture describing the Holy Spirit imparting forgiveness to the disciples is the fulfillment of John 7:38-39."Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
The Aramaic translation paints a clearer picture: “For the Spirit had not yet been issued since Jesus had not poured out his sacrificial, glorifying blood.
Jesus continued to appear to His disciples, convicting and convincing them of His Deity. As we follow further in John 20, we witness the doubt of the disciple Thomas in verse 25. “…Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
A week later, John 20 records that Thomas was with the disciples when Jesus appeared to them again. Incredibly, the Son of Almighty God invited Doubting Thomas to touch His nail wounds, to verify His death on the Cross! No small wonder that ‘ole Thomas immediately believed, shouting “My Lord and my God!”.
“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’ Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
Jesus continues to appear before us in the presence of His Living Word. The physical proof of His Resurrection, presented by Jesus Himself, has yielded to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit He has gifted us. And it is in this power that you and I stand today: we have not seen, yet we believe.
We must pause and be humbled and encouraged by the salutation that Jesus repeated twice to His disciples and is repeating to us right this very minute today.
“PEACE BE WITH YOU!"