John 20:19–31 NRSV – When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20:20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 20:22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 20:24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 20:25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 20:26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 20:30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 20:31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
Summary – Jesus met with the Apostles after being dead, but they were fearful and doubtful. His first action to counter fear and doubt was to grant and confer peace to them. He even said it twice to make the point: “So Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you’” (v21, also Lk. 24:36). Even so they still had fear and doubt. Here is Jesus standing right front of them for the second time, conferring peace, conveying the Holy Spirit of God by blowing air out of His glorified lungs, no less! But the darkness of the human heart “needs proof” beyond even seeing a dead Man walk through doors, seeing a man crucified now alive, and even hearing the resurrected Lord speak peace to them! Thomas needed “real proof” so Jesus met him all the way: “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side.” From this Jesus, summarizes our mission. “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (v21). By this peace we are empowered in His presence to be “sent” to the world.
Insight – When Jesus conferred peace upon them, this was not a mere greeting, “hello” or “how’s it going.’” Rather, it expresses the recognition of “His peace accomplished” on the Day of Resurrection and focuses on the true bond of unity of those in Christ. Even Thomas was finally and fully able to believe despite his earlier doubt. If you are unbelieving there are no “proofs” which suffice. But if you are willing to believe the truth then receive peace with God through His resurrection and believe it! Peace (in Hebrew/Shalom) means total wellness. A formerly dead Man was giving total health and the blessing of worry-free Life to fearful disciples. Let us also receive His peace in the midst of our fears and worries.
Child Catechism – After Jesus was raised, what did Jesus say to His disciples? “Peace be with you.”
Discussion – What will it take to convince you that Jesus is the resurrected Lord? Are you believing or unbelieving? Do you have the peace that Jesus granted to His disciples?
Prayer: O Lord Jesus, help our unbelief, breathe the new creation wind of Spirit into us and change the stony rocks of our hearts into life-filled flesh that glorifies You, in the mighty name of Jesus we pray. Amen.