Going back to the evening of the first Easter. The hope that the kingdom of God would come into the world through the person of Jesus of Nazareth had come to a horrible, tragic, scandalous end. For his disciples, one of their own had caused this, had sold out their master for money. Then that disciple had himself gone out and committed suicide.
This day, their had been lots of talk, lots of rumors going around about the tomb being empty. But for Jesus disciples, they were staying behind locked doors, because after all, Jesus had been killed. You never could know who might be next…
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
They are cowering in fear, but suddenly Jesus is there!! He doesn't unlock the door, he doesn't knock, he's just there, with them. And what are the first words Jesus speaks to his disciples after he had been crucified and buried while they had scattered? "Peace be with you."
Jesus' first words to his frightened disciples on that resurrection night, his first words to the new world, the first words we should hear from him are "Peace be with you."
There was no peace in that room. There was only fear, sorrow, anxiety, uncertainty…but with the presence of the risen Christ, peace flows into the room. Jesus breaks into their rear and anxiety and brings peace. Just three days earlier, they had all seen their teacher arrested. At least one of them had stuck around long enough to see the gruesome finish that Friday afternoon. They are now back together, huddled in fear in a licked room, determined only to keep everybody else, that big bad angry world out. But Jesus shows up, and the impossible becomes possible. He brings peace into that room.
Jesus brings peace into that room, then he breathes on his disciples the Holy Spirit - 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. So Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit onto his disciples in that locked room, and sent them out into the world. Which Holy Spirit would that be?? “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."” Luke 3:21-22 ESV. The exact same Holy Spirit which came upon Jesus at his own baptism is the Holy Spirit which he breathed upon his disciples in that locked room. The rest, you might say, is the history of Christianity.
It's the same Holy Spirit he can still breathe on us in our locked rooms, if only we would allow him to get near enough to breathe it upon us. Jesus breathing this Holy Spirit on his disciples then sending them out into that big, bad, scary world commissioned to forgive should speak powerfully to us today. We may living in a locked room with our fear, our sorrow, our uncertainty, our anxiety, but Jesus simply says "Peace be with you." He can say this because he is the one, simply by his presence, who can make the impossible possible and bring peace into our own locked room.
He's standing right there. Do you see him? Can you feel him? Will you let him close enough to breathe upon you?
To be continued…
“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 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. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld."”
John 20:19-23 ESV