“On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the disciples were together,
with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders,
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.”
John 20:19-20 (NIV)
Jesus had been very busy that resurrection day with a total of five appearances, including today’s, all under different circumstances. He was standing, walking, eating, at the empty tomb, travelling between towns, in a locked room, and appearances to disciples who were initially sceptical of the resurrection. The Gospel writers show great integrity as they record how difficult it was for them to receive the good news that their beloved Master had indeed risen. Because of the disciples’ initial refusal to believe the central doctrine of their faith we have confidence their reports about seeing Jesus alive are true. They found fault with themselves for being slow to believe but expected their testimony to be accepted. Why did they expect their witness to be accepted? Because, of course, it was true!
The disciples were behind locked doors because they feared the reprisal of the Jewish leaders. Likely they were wondering where they would go next. For over three years they had followed their Teacher, but He was forever gone as far as they were concerned. They had expected Him to set up His kingdom and rule the world. Instead, He died a shameful death utterly overpowered by His enemies. With their hopes shattered they felt their future was hopeless.
Suddenly, unexpectedly, and without announcement, Jesus appeared in the room with them. He gave them a beautiful Jewish greeting and immediately showed the scars of His crucifixion to prove He was not an imposter. The marks of crucifixion and His Galilean accent were all they needed to embrace the glorious truth He was indeed alive. The women were right in their witness to seeing the Teacher alive. They were “overjoyed”. In Mark 16:14 we read that Jesus rebuked them for not believing the reports of the disciples who had already seen Him alive. Then He asked for some food to eat Luke 24:41-43 and ate it in front of them. In so many ways our Lord gave wonderful evidence to the fact He was alive.
Reader do you indeed believe in your heart that Jesus rose from the dead? Do you confess Him as your only Lord and Saviour? Do you live for Him and seek to exalt Him in every word you speak, with every thought, and in everything you do? When you stray from the path of righteousness do you humbly return asking forgiveness? These are the distinctive traits of Christian character and are evidence of God working in you. Rejoice today that you serve a risen Saviour Who has promised never to leave you or forsake you. The power it took to raise our Lord is the power that works in you (Ephesians 1:19-20).
The day of resurrection!
Earth, tell it out abroad;
the passover of gladness,
the passover of God.
From death to life eternal,
from earth unto the sky,
our Christ hath brought us over,
with hymns of victory.
Our hearts be pure from evil,
that we may see aright
the Lord in rays eternal
of resurrection light;
and listening to his accents,
may hear, so calm and plain,
his own “All hail!” and, hearing,
may raise the victor strain.
Now let the heavens be joyful!
Let earth the song begin!
Let the round world keep triumph,
and all that is therein!
Let all things seen and unseen
their notes in gladness blend,
for Christ the Lord hath risen,
our joy that hath no end.