From the Resurrection to Pentecost where was Jesus? Appearance to the disciples without Thomas.
The people who came in contact with Jesus didn’t recognize Him at first for many possible reasons. He bore new scars. He took a horrible beating, (one that would have killed most) a beating which surely altered His appearance. Additionally most people don’t look for people they know to have died to be walking around. They also had a healthy fear of the Roman government and the Jewish leadership which had just crucified Jesus. Fear often changes our perspective; it sometimes stops us from seeing and doing things we know are good and we often perceive reality in the safe mode. They were in hiding. Even though people had been reporting to them He was alive.
Luke 24:36-43 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.
John 20:19-25 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!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
Jesus gave them many gifts when He appeared to them.
1. His ability to get past locked doors was not a magician’s trick but a God sighting in which they could understand Jesus in light of Psalm139 paraphrasing~ Where ever you go, I am with you. 2. He greeted them by offering peace~ In the midst of a very fearful situation Jesus offers peace. 3. He proved Himself to be more than a ghost~ He wanted to eat, showing He was real yet changed 4. He blessed them again with an offer of peace, much needed peace to be able to overcome their fear. 5. He offers them a commission; a job, a purpose from God the Father Himself~ As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. 6. He gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit – permanently- unlike the Old Testament when the Spirit would come and go the Spirit of God now walked with men and lived in them. 7. He gave them an extension of power to forgive sin ~ something reserved for God prior to this.
It seems we cannot have the same experience as the disciples; these experiences were a special gift reserved for them to give them courage to face the pressures that would be unique to them. They faced pressures in the city, in the time they lived, and the people they faced. We face challenges everyday as well and we would love to have Jesus speak directly to us and say “Peace be with you”. Jesus knows our needs as deeply as He knew His disciples. He knows our hearts, our fears, our hopes, our dreams and our futures.
He gives us the same message; “Peace be with you”, and “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” We have many gifts given to us as well. We have His Word, and His Spirit to interpret the Word for us, as well as to comfort us. He gives us His promise in Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” an echo of Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Even though the times change and the circumstances of our lives seem to get more complex and strained, Jesus remains with us. Jesus is consistent, and constant, giving strength and hope that is unique to each of us. Jesus gives us the hope to face all uncertainty because He lives. Not just a song we sing at Easter, because He lives we can face the pressures of tomorrow, the pain of separation, the fear of reprisal. The focus of our lives cannot be the difficulties that lie in front of us that cause fear; but the God who can overcome fear. The disciples did not make a leap of faith to trust in one who could not meet needs. They were confronted by the one who had always met their needs. They were offered Peace as a gift. Peace that overcomes fear, is a gift that is overwhelming. The Peace that Jesus offers you is as unique to you as it was to each disciple in the room. Remember the promise. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
Live courageously in Grace and Peace this week
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