The Apostles were afraid and confused when they learned that Jesus was no longer in the tomb. Mary had reported seeing Jesus alive, but the remaining Apostles had not yet seen Him. So, as they were together in seclusion, Jesus just showed up. Jesus started this reunion off with the words, “Peace be with You!” That was exactly what the men needed most at that moment in their lives.
They had no peace. All that they trained for and believed was ripped away just days before. Jesus died, the sun grew dark, the ground shook, and the curtain separating the holy of holies was ripped from top to bottom. None of that inspired peace. Additionally, they had a huge target on their backs for being followers of Christ.
Then, Jesus appeared. His presence instantly melted away all the fear and dread lingering in their hearts. They saw the holes in his hands and wound in His side. The fear was gone and they were ready to take on anything the world could throw at them.
Moving back to the mission, Jesus breathed on the men and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” They were now fully equipped. Interestingly, Jesus told them they now had the power to forgive sins, meaning they not only had the power to heal the body but to declare the reconciliation of men back to God through the name of Christ. Now, as He was sending the guys out, He was doing so with an eternal purpose. They were to show the world the true nature of God and continue the ministry of reconciliation between God and man.
As John was finishing the chapter, He also recounted Thomas’ unique reunion with Jesus. They were all celebrating their encounter with the Lord, but Thomas had not been there. So, as they were telling Thomas, He refused to believe what they said. He had been burned already and He wanted direct proof. Eight days later, he would receive that proof. Jesus appeared again, this time as if for Thomas alone. Jesus showed Thomas His wounds, thereby ending all of Thomas’ doubts. Jesus met Thomas right where he was – in the middle of a personal crisis of belief.
The application for us is simple. Jesus also meets us where we are. If we are filled with fear and dread, Jesus tells us, “Peace be with you!” He provides peace and His Spirit to prepare us for the journey He has set before us. We need to be focused on the mission of reconciliation. He will meet us where we are, but He expects us to trust Him and follow the Spirit’s lead. We are equipped to do everything He did. We need not fear, doubt, or be ashamed. We have the gospel – the greatest news of all time! It is the power of God to salvation for all who believe! Romans 1:16
God Bless You
19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, “[b]Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, their sins [c]have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called [d]Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
26 [e]After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus *came, the doors having been [f]shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He *said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands, and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
Why This Gospel Was Written
30 Therefore many other [g]signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is [h]the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.