19 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!”
As Jesus was crucified the disciples became frightened. They did not know if they were going to be next. They feared that they could be crucified because they were associated with Christ. They were terrified of the Jewish religious leaders and did not know where to turn. They did the best thing that any group of Christians can do when they are frightened. They came together as a group. They came together to discuss what the next steps should be, but more importantly they came together to pray and seek guidance.
While they were gathered together in this secret meeting they kept the doors locked. They were terrified that the Jewish leaders would be coming for them so they made it impossible for man to get to them. What they did not expect happened next. Jesus appeared before them. Jesus had been resurrected earlier that day. He did not want them to just hear rumors about the resurrection. Jesus wanted His disciples to be first hand witnesses to His resurrection. He was about to give them a mission and He wanted them to have that firsthand knowledge.
With this appearance we see five things happen. The first thing we see is that Jesus tells His disciples “Peace be unto you.” Again these disciples were frightened because of what had taken place in the past few days. Also they must have been frightened when all of a sudden Jesus appears before them in this room that was closed off to prevent people from entering. Just as Jesus calmed the stormy waters He calmed their fears by bringing peace to a chaotic scene. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and can bring you peace no matter how big of a storm you face.
Now Jesus provides proof that this is really Him and not someone else. Jesus showed His hands and side. He showed them the wounds that He had just suffered in order to save them and us even today. The wounds that Jesus presented to His disciples are the wounds that lead to the death that paid the price for our sins. Jesus knew that there was no better proof then His nail scared hands. He wanted His disciples to know without a doubt that He had risen because this is what the gospel message hinges on. They were convinced that it was the Lord and we too can be certain that our Lord rose from the grave.
Jesus then makes a statement to the disciples. He tells them “As my Father has sent Me, I also send you.” Jesus has already told them that He brings them peace and they should not fear and he has given them proof that he has overcome death. Now He tells them that they are to go out and plant the church. He has now appointed the disciples to continue His work on earth. This is still relevant to His disciples today. We as Disciples of Christ are still to continue the work Christ started over 2,000 years ago. The church must be about doing the work of Christ until He returns.
When Jesus gave the disciples their mission He did not stop there. Jesus qualified those that He called and sent on mission. He breathed on them and said “receive the Holy Spirit.” He gave them the ability to carry out the mission of expanding the church here on earth. When God gives His disciples a task He also gives us the ability to carry it out. We have been given the task of telling others about Jesus and His saving grace and we have been given a helper to accomplish this task.
We see that Jesus gives the disciples another task. He tells them that they are to forgive people’s sins. He tells them that if they forgive the sins of any they are forgiven. Again God equipped them to handle this situation. They would not be able to forgive sins if they did not have a discerning spirit. The Holy Spirit played a major role in this.
- The resurrection of Jesus was documented by many eye witness accounts in order to prove the validity of His resurrection.
- The wounds that Jesus presented to His disciples are the wounds that lead to the death that paid the price for our sins.
- We are to continue the work that Christ started and we are able to accomplish this through the help of the Holy Spirit.