“On the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were together behind locked doors because of their fear of the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” (John 20:19-20)
Are you afraid? Are you anxious? Are you worried?
Right now, as our nation continues to fight a COVID-19 pandemic, understandably many people are distressed. They are worried for themselves and for their loved ones. The entire world is standing face to face with its own mortality — and it is not comfortable!
This is, sadly, not new to human experience. Throughout history humanity has faced difficult situations where we are forced to stop and make huge changes. There have been many times when the entire world has been shaken — thrown into fear and worry. This also affects us individually. There are frightening times in our own lives when we face our own trials and hardships. There are occasions where we don’t see a clear path forward or out of the trouble that we’re facing.
Jesus’ disciples found themselves in a situation like that after our Savior had been crucified. In a sense, they were “self-isolating.” They had locked themselves away because they were afraid. Those disciples, who only days before had boldly proclaimed that they would gladly die with Jesus, were now hiding by themselves, afraid of dying.
And it wasn’t an unfounded threat that they faced. The threat was real. Jesus had told them just days before, “You are not of the world ... for that very reason the world hates you.” (John 15:19) Our Lord warned them to expect persecution and even death because they followed him. But now, having witnessed Jesus being brutally tortured and killed upon a cross, they were suddenly filled with fear, anxiety and worries. They were very shaken and didn’t see a clear path forward.
But in that moment, Jesus himself, truly risen bodily from the dead, appeared in front of the disciples and proclaimed some amazing words: “Peace be with you!” They had all seen him die. But now, here he was right in their midst, proving himself to be no longer dead, but alive! And he assured them that they had real peace.
Jesus’ resurrection from the grave also brings peace to you and me. What is there to worry about? Even a brutal crucifixion can’t stop Jesus! And neither can death stop those who trust in Him. The fact that Jesus is risen from the dead gives peace because it assures us that everything our Lord said is true and that his work has been totally accomplished. It means that before God, Jesus’ perfect, righteous life now counts for us who have so often failed. It means that his innocent suffering and death upon the cross has redeemed us — bought us back — from sin and death. All of our sins and guilt are paid for! It also means that even though we will have to face our own physical death, that’s not going to stop us. We too have a promise from almighty God that we will rise again with our body and soul to enjoy new eternal life with Him.
Yes, what great peace belongs to you and me because of our resurrected Lord Jesus. Especially during this time as many in our world are hiding out in fear of death, those who have Christ have true peace. We have nothing to fear. Even if the coronavirus reaches us and brings death to us, we have peace with God. And so death itself doesn’t need to frighten us. All who have faith in Jesus their living Savior have the peace of knowing that eternal life is theirs.
You and I can rejoice in the peace that comes from our victorious Lord. Happy Easter! Jesus is risen indeed! And know with confidence that the God of all peace is with you. He loves you and is taking care of you.