On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene had gone to Jesus’ grave in the morning twilight. She had found an empty grave. The stone had been moved from the opening of the grave. Mary went to tell the disciples of this. Peter and the other disciples rushed to Jesus’ grave. They saw that of which Mary had told them (John 20:1-9).
Meeting the resurrected Redeemer
The disciples left from the grave to their dwelling place, but Mary Magdalene remained at the opening of the grave crying. Jesus appeared to Mary. “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?” Mary received a task from Jesus: “but go to my brethren, and say unto them” (John 20:11-17).
Mary brought the message from the grave of the resurrected Redeemer. The disciples were the first to hear this message. Mary rushed to tell them “that she had seen the Lord!” (John 20:18)
The message of the resurrected Redeemer included and still includes the declaration of God’s love towards the one who has fallen into sin. It reveals the prospects of peace to one who is crushed under the burden of sin. God has not rejected me. Through His son’s redemption work, He has opened the possibility to be freed from sin and partake in eternal life.
It is not a wonder that the disciples were afraid. All that they had experienced had shocked them. Their confusion was increased when Mary Magdalene told them she had met Jesus. It felt necessary to keep the doors locked.
There behind those locked doors the timid, frightened, and confused disciples were able to meet Jesus who had won over death. All of a sudden, Jesus stood in their midst and said. “Peace be unto you!” When he said this, he showed the disciples his hands and feet. (John 20:19)
Joy is kindled
Seeing Jesus kindled joy in the disciples’ hearts (John 20:19). They had not believed in vain. God’s promises had been true after all.
Through faith Jesus can still be met and seen in the gospel of God’s kingdom. When a sinful person has his sins forgiven in Jesus’ name and blood, he is released from the burden of sin and can experience peace, freedom, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Believing in the gospel brings forth joy in the believer. According to the Apostle Paul, joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
Peace be unto you!
What do Jesus’ words “Peace be unto you” mean today as we experience restlessness around us? We recognize this even in ourselves. We doubt our faith. Many temptations are familiar. Many who regret their sinful lives are searching for a new direction.
The rejoicing disciples behind closed doors received a task from their Lord and Master. Jesus fortified the disciples with the Holy Spirit and sent them to proclaim the gospel of peace: “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so I send you.” (John 20:21-22)
After this, Jesus gave the disciples the power to forgive sins. “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained” (John 20:23). The gospel of the forgiveness of sins brings forth that peace which Jesus spoke of to the disciples.
Already earlier Jesus had spoken of this same peace in his farewell sermon: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Jesus’ followers want to be faithful to the task Jesus has given them. This is why God’s kingdom still exhorts unbelieving people to repent and turn away from their sinful life. They are offered the gospel of the forgiveness of sins. It is worth holding on to this gospel of peace! It gives people an innermost lasting peace.
The message of the resurrected Redeemer is also brought to believing people, those who follow Jesus. It encourages frightened, tired, and doubting children of God to believe. It is worth believing, because the goal of faith is heaven. There one can enjoy eternal peace with Jesus and his own.
Text: Antti Savela
Translation: Angela Hänninen
Source: Siionin Lähetyslehti 1/2015
Tekstissä käsitellään seuraavaa raamatunkohtaa: John 20:21
Julkaistu englanninkielisessä kieliliitteessä 6.5.2015.
Raamatun mukaan jokainen Jumalan valtakunnan jäsen on avoin lähetyskirje omassa toimintaympäristössään (2. Kor. 3:2–3). Tämä asia voi olla kipupiste uskovaiselle ihmiselle, sillä henkilökohtaisesta uskosta puhumiselle on korkea kynnys nyky-yhteiskunnassa.