John 20:19-23 I’m Back!
Jesus is back! He is risen! He is ALIVE!! We have come to the point in our story where the disciples see Jesus again as a nearly whole group. Only one surviving member is missing, Thomas. I wonder what it sounded like when Jesus appeared in the room.
We know from Luke’s gospel that Jesus appeared in the room while the two who had met Him on the road to Emmaus were still telling their story. We also know that the others were having a hard time believing them. We started looking at the scene when we studied Luke’s account. I want to take it a little farther today.
Jesus has just completed a miracle NEVER before even considered; rising from the dead independent of anyone’s prayers. There were a few instances of people rising from the dead in other parts of the bible, but none of those who were raised were in the sort of shape Jesus had been in. Jesus had been beaten beyond recognition. His spent HOURS laboring with each breath while hanging on the cross. And His heart had been pierced by the spear. None of these wounds were minor or reversible. But here He stood, looking only slightly worse for the wear.
The fear and confusion in the room must have been palpable. Jesus’ statement to them said as much. “Peace be with you” (verse 19). Jesus wouldn’t have spoken those words to an already peaceful group. He was calming their hearts and minds. He also set their minds at rest by proving He was who He said He was and that He was indeed flesh and bone standing before them. He did this by showing the remaining scars of His time on the cross (the nail prints and His pierced side), and having a meal in their presence.
After Jesus provided this proof I imagine the questions began to fly! “How did You get here?” “What is it like on the other side?” “Will You ever forgive us for not being with You that day?” “How did You do this?” “Is this what You meant when You talked about the temple?” The questions could have gone on for days and even longer!
I imagine Jesus answered quite a few of those questions but He also did something better. He gave His disciples a sneak preview what was coming next. Jesus started this by again commanding them to be at peace. Then He commissioned them with the task of sharing His story. Finally He gave them a foretaste of the Holy Spirit. “’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. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them. If you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld”’ (verses 21-22).
This was their new job; sharing His story and forgiving others. The Holy Spirit would help them by watching over them until the day He was allowed full access to their hearts. Their questions would be answered by Him.
Lord Jesus, thank You for being willing to listen to all our questions. Thank You for the Holy Spirit who speaks about You and reveals to our hearts Your truths. Help me always listen even when I’m scared or think I have all the answers. I look forward to asking a LOT of questions in person.