On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” -John 20:19 (NIV)
The apostles were afraid of the Jews because of what they had done to the Lord: they crucified Him. Perhaps they did not know what would happen to them. They were sore scared that they locked themselves behind closed doors especially that the Pharisees bribed the Roman soldiers to spread a false report that they stole the body of the Lord from the tomb.
Perhaps they were having a meeting about what they would do next or they were trying to comfort each other from the suffering and pain that the loss of their Master had brought to them.
At that point, Jesus came in and stood in the midst of them and said, “Peace be with you”, then the Lord showed his hands and side to them. Suddenly, their fear turned into joy when they saw the Lord alive.
The Lord spoke to them words that touched their deepest needs.
1. He gave them peace. “Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19) The apostles were afraid and depressed but the voice of the Lord, His living presence reassured them of His enduring love and that was enough to dissolve their sadness and fear.
2. He gave them a purpose. “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21). The Lord Jesus sent them out to tell others about His resurrection and the teachings He left to them.
3. He gave them power. “And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22). He knew that they were weak even though their spirits were willing. He gave them empowerment through the Holy Spirit that would give them courage and boldness to carry out their purpose.
4. He gave the opportunity for forgiveness and the power to free people from their sin. “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:23). He entrusted to the apostles the evangelistic task of reaching out to the world and preach the forgiveness of sins that people may repent and receive pardon from God.
In our deepest fears, God comes to us to give us courage by His power and presence. Christ has risen to meet all our needs and you will experience the resurrection power of God as you begin to trust in Him totally.
We, too, are ambassadors of the Lord wherever we are. Whether in the workplace, in school, at home, in the streets or at any place, God calls each Christian to become a witness to the power of God that change lives.
The Lord empowers us too through the Holy Spirit who teaches and equips us with knowledge and strength to fulfill our purpose as His disciples.
We have the task to share the gospel of peace and forgiveness so that other people may also experience the grace and mercy that God has shown us.
Digested from a sermon by: Rev. Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro, United Methodist Church, May 1, 2011
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