A PLEASANT SURPRISE
“The same day, at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, came Jesus, and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you!” Jn. 20.19.
The fear of man
In the spirit of self confidence, all the disciples had said they would never deny or disown Jesus. But, soon after, influenced by the fear of man, they “all forsook Him and fled”.
They now feared all the more, we may suppose, because of their unfaithfulness and treachery. What would the world think or say of them? Would they not be a laughing stock for all the people? But, above all, should Christ rise from the dead, what would He think and say of them? Would He not be ashamed of them? Would He not treat them as they had treated Him – deny and disown them for ever?
Probably they feared also they would be the victims of that lying conspiracy entered into between the authorities and the soldiers, the one having given, the other having accepted money as a bribe, to say the disciples had stolen the body from the sepulchre when the soldiers were asleep. The disciples would thus be in fear of apprehension, and some public or terrible disgrace.
The favour of God
Mary had told the disciples of Christ’s resurrection. They would not believe it; yet Christ Himself comes to them. What marvellous mercy!
In spite of their unbelief, their closed doors, their guilty fears, Christ not only comes to them, but He comes quickly.
When Christ speaks to the disciples, there is not a word of reproach, not even a frown, but – ‘Peace be unto you’. Peace from the covenant of peace, from the God of peace. Peace purchased and wrought – ‘My peace give I unto you’. And none could take it away.
Christ showed them His hands and His side. Their faith had failed, yet He gave them visual demonstration. What condescension! What amazing love!
What a sweet surprise! The divine favour subdued their fears. Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord’.
The lessons learned
How infinitely better to us the Lord is than all our guilty fears would lead us to expect.
Whenever and wherever gathered in His Name, He will be present in the midst, the Centre of union and joy.
He will reveal Himself, will speak peace, and make the heart burn with holy delight.
He will breathe His Spirit into us, to fit and to qualify us for activity and usefulness in His service.