On the morning of the first Easter, Mary Magdalene and some of the disciples found the tomb empty, receiving the news from the angel that Jesus has already risen. But, some of them were still skeptical of His promised resurrection and so that Easter evening, the disciples locked themselves behind a door -- afraid, worried, and confused as to what would happen next. They were afraid that the Jewish leaders who killed Jesus would also find them. They were confused as to where Jesus’ body was. They had so many questions that none of them could answer.
In the story in John 20, here we find Jesus suddenly appearing to His disciples behind closed doors after He was resurrected. But He didn’t just appear, He also gave them four important things that gave them hope to open their locked doors and to once more go out to the world to preach the Good News of salvation.
When Jesus Unlocks a Door, He Brings a Blessing and a Revelation.
“That Sunday evening, the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! ” - John 20: 19-20
“Peace be with you.” These were the very first words Jesus spoke to the disciples when He appeared to them that first Easter evening as they were locked behind a closed door. PEACE was the very thing that Jesus gave them after His resurrection -- peace of the forgiveness of sins, the peace that assured them He lives. It’s that blessing of peace that assured the disciples that everything Jesus said is true and validated. And even now, because of this peace, we know that everything Jesus says about Himself today is true. He is our peacemaker. He is the Prince of peace. He is the great redeemer who not only suffered and died, but rose again to sanctify the graves of every human who has died and who will die. And as Jesus rose out of the grave, He brings to each person, to our households, the satisfaction of our souls. And guess what? Even when you don’t feel it? He gives PEACE nonetheless. These are not empty words. He backs it up because HE LIVES.
The next thing Jesus gave His disciples that night was a revelation. When He showed them His wounds on His hands and side, it gave them an “AHA!” moment. Seeing the physical wounds of Jesus was an eyeopener to them that Jesus really rose from the dead. They had proof of His tangible presence! What a revelation that must have been for the disciples. Without seeing Jesus’ wounds, they might have thought that they were seeing a ghost. Jesus was physically alive and took the time to reveal to them the marks of their redemption, the payment for their sins.
When He Unlocks a Door, He Assigns a Mission and Supplies the Power.
“As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you. Again He said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” -
After giving them the blessing of peace and the revelation of His resurrection, Jesus then gave the disciples a mission and then He breathed on them and empowered them. Specifically, Jesus was telling the disciples to keep pointing people to Him. And this is what He is telling us today too. Our mission is to help others know Jesus and help them to acknowledge that what Jesus did on the cross was enough payment for their sins. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “if you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven.” (John 20:23) We get to go and connect people to a life in Jesus. Isn’t this an amazing mission? Undeserved yet freely given.
Jesus didn’t give them a mission without empowering them. He breathed on them the Holy Spirit which gave them power to do God’s will here on earth -- preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, healing the sick, setting people free, performing signs and wonders, and delivering people from sin. This is also the same power that has been given to us and to anyone who received Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Jesus opened the door for us to experience His Kingdom and His power through His death and resurrection.
So if you find yourself in a place where you feel locked down and locked in, be encouraged knowing that when Jesus shows up behind locked doors, He meets us where we’re at. Jesus is the only one who can unlock the doors that are keeping us in and when Jesus unlocks a door, He gives us peace, revelation, mission, and His power. As we receive these, new life is experienced.