When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
On the evening of that day, - you know, the day described a few verses, a day full of resurrection wonder and crumpled grave clothes and an empty tomb and angels - yes, on the evening of THAT day,
the first day of the week, Just clarifying one more time, that it was THE day when some of the disciples have already seen the gaping empty vault, and all of them have heard from eyewitness Mary Magdalene, "I have seen the Lord..." (v.18)
Where were these brave and loyal followers? Look at the word order of this sentence:
The doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jewish leaders...
These Jesus followers had, after all,
seen plenty in the past days-
known the stomach churning terror at the garden arrest,
winced to see the marred face of the One they thought would be their Messiah,
knew the deadly accurate aim of misdirected power.
They had reasons to be afraid.
But while fear is the feeling of this sentence, it is not the focus. Every phrase moves forward to this one
toward this two word miracle: Jesus came.
Jesus came and stood among them. And though the gift of his Presence would have been more than enough, he offered another gift:
He said, "Peace be with you." He'd spoken of peace to them before...
Before they all so cravenly ran away,
Before the longest night of their lives,
Before the end of life as they had known it,
Before they had reason to gather behind closed doors.
Their fear was so real, so close, so much a part of them, they could taste its flat metal bitterness when they licked their too-dry lips.
So their hearts felt a shudder of hope when they heard those words, “Peace be with you…”
Was the offer still good?!?
Hadn’t they invalidated their credit that night when every one of them had drained the account and fled like thieves into the darkness of their own unbelief?
He showed them his hands and his side. (these painful places, this gift.)
And then the disciples were glad…they rejoiced NASB, they were overjoyed NIV, they were filled with joy NLT.
You get the picture! No matter the translation, the joy is spilling off the page, they were beside themselves,
When they saw the Lord.
And then, Jesus speaks again…now that the shock has worn off and the joy noise has simmered down so that He can hear himself think, and they can hear His voice speak:
"Peace be with you. (I give to you this gift. It’s yours…and, well, you’re gonna need it because…)
As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you."
And how is that, Jesus, how has the Father sent you?
You were tossed unceremoniously into a world that didn’t care.
You were sent to live a life of poverty among the marginalized and suffering.
You became a man of sorrows who was acquainted with grief.
You came unto your own, and your own did not receive you.
Oh. That is how the Father sent you...gulp.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.
Oh, Jesus, how we need your Holy Spirit,
living as we do in hard places.
Like your first followers,
we too build walls and lock doors because of our fears.
Sometime we don't know if we are walling in or walling out...
Barricades erected of fear, by fear, for fear don’t hold you back.
You walk right into the middle of our fear-locked, pain pocked lives,
and You just stand there, doing what you do best.
You simple show up.
You come and stand among us and offer us your peace.
And all we can do is say thank you,
(which might be the same thing as yes.)
Yes to You.
Yes to your Presence.
Yes to peace.