In the Image
“Peace to You!”
“Then 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. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them [his] hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” John 20:19-21
“Peace in our times,” said Chamberlain to England and the world, right before the outbreak of World War II. “Peace, brother!” was the greeting of the hippies in the 60's and 70's. “Peace now, and “Give peace a chance,” has been chanted and quoted hundreds of times. But do we really know what we are talking about when we say the popular word, “peace”. Jesus did. The verses above record one of the most dramatic events in the Bible. This event took place after the disciples’ world had been turned upside down. You see, their Messiah was taken by the religious leaders of Israel and handed over to Pilate to be crucified. Even though the Lord Jesus told His disciples many times that He must suffer and die in this manner they didn’t understand. They were convinced that Jesus was their promised Messiah, the One who would lead their nation out from under the bondage of the hated Roman empire, the One who would lead their nation to greatness, the promised One who would rule the world in truth and in righteousness and establish His kingdom here on earth forever. They placed their faith and trust in this Man, the One whom they believed would be their conquering King, who would break the yoke of Rome, liberate Israel and lead them into the golden age that the prophets speak of, the Kingdom. But when He was handed over to Pilate to be crucified their hopes and dreams were shattered.
Our text says that they were assembled behind closed doors because of their fear of the Jews. In light of what the Jews did to Jesus it is easy to understand their fears. Would the Jews treat them in the same manner? Would they hunt down the disciples and have them killed too? What would happen to them now that Jesus was no longer there to protect them? You can only imagine what was running through their minds. For the moment they were afraid, crushed, without hope and direction. They felt defeated, their Messiah was no longer alive!
Unknown to the disciples, all of this was about to change, for while they were assembled behind shut doors the resurrected Lord Jesus came and stood in their midst. Our text says that when Jesus appeared to the disciples He did three things. First, He said, “Peace [be] unto you”. Second, He showed them His hands and His side. Third, He again said to His disciples, “Peace [be] unto you.” Why? Of all the things that the Lord Jesus could have said at this most precious moment why did He say, “Peace [be] unto you” and show them His hands and side? Is there any significance in that Jesus said “peace unto you” and showed His hands and side? There most certainly is! In fact the careful Bible student will quickly see the significance. You see, the whole purpose of the first coming of Jesus was to establish peace between God and man. It was man who started the war against God. It was man who decided he would no longer submit to his Creator, but would live according to his own dictates. In doing so man sinned against God, pronounced his little “declaration of independence”, and declared war on Him. Mankind was now under the wrath of God, and as a consequence of his rebellion against God, death entered (Ro. 5:12) the human race. Not only physical death, but also man would have to die the second death, being eternally separated from God. Humanity was without hope, there was no way to establish peace with God in man’s own power; it was beyond his ability. Without a way to make peace with God mankind was doomed! Yet, God had a plan, and that is the Good News. What was impossible for man was possible with God. Man could not make peace with God but God could make peace with man, but this peace plan would cost Him dearly. In order to make peace with man, God would have to give the life of His own Son the Lord Jesus Christ as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. It was the only way that peace could be made between God and man.
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." (Romans 5:6-10)
Now that Jesus Christ had died and paid the penalty for our sin against God, it was only fitting that the first thing he said to His disciples after His resurrection was, “Peace [be] unto you.” Making peace between God and mankind was the very reason that He laid down His life on the cross, and by showing His hands and side He was showing how this peace was made by the giving of His own life. Without the shedding of blood that was accomplished in that place of wounds and shame, there would have been no remission of sins (Matthew 26:28 Hebrews 9:15-28). We also see an expression of the depth of the Lord’s love for us in those wounds. The Lord Jesus said in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Yet, He went a step further and laid down His life for His enemies.
Dear friend, have you accepted the peace that God offers you through His Son the Lord Jesus? We often hear the expression, “have you made peace with God?” Many times these words are uttered to a loved one who is in the last few days of their life. I believe that many times these words are uttered by well-meaning people who out of love want to be assured that their loved ones are in a right relationship with God. Yet it is impossible for man to make peace with God. The only way we can have it is by accepting the peace that He made for us through the sacrifice of His only begotten Son. We do this when we repent of our sin, and place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in Him as the one who died to pay the penalty for our sins. Only then can we have true peace with God.
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New Life Bible Chapel
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Sunday Meeting 10:30 A.M.
Wednesday Prayer Meeting 7:00 P.M.
Steve (616) 604-0462
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