Seeing the Master
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
(The verses in bold below represent the same passage from The Message)
Later on that day, the disciples had gathered, but fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house.
This is a mere two days after Jesus was mocked, beaten, and killed. The disciples had endured not only that, but they’d also witnessed angry mobs hurl accusations at Jesus and a friend of theirs betray him. They've heard He's alive, that the tomb is empty, but how could that be? The disciples don't know what's happening or what the recent events all mean. Confused and on edge, they’re wondering what's next and how to move forward amidst the trauma they've been through.
I think we all can relate to this; Jesus followers are fearful, and they lock themselves inside. Sounds familiar, huh? Even if we're not scared of the corona virus itself right now, maybe we are scared of decreased income or potential job loss, the uncertainty of the future or the health of a loved one. These days seem to present more fear than we are perhaps accustomed to. The good thing is the story continues...
Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, "Peace to you."
Jesus comes to them. He comes in the midst of their fear and doubt, their worries and anxiety. They don't have to take the first step and go to Him, figure everything out or pull themselves together to be ready for His arrival. In fact, they don’t do anything special at all. He just comes.
Jesus also stays. He stands among them. He is present with them. Seeing my husband walk in the door releases some of the tension I carry on bad days, just because he's there with me. Presence means so much, so Jesus comes. The disciples can exhale their tensions away, because they know He’s there.
Then he showed them his hands and side.
Standing in their midst, it’s almost like Jesus says, “Look at this. See how much I love you? You were there, weren’t you, when they killed me? It was real. I really did that. For you."
Maybe Jesus is implying, “If I can do that for you, and if I'm on your side, who can stand against you? I know you're confused and afraid, but there's no need to worry. I can handle all the circumstances you find yourselves in.”
The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant.
They saw Jesus. I presume they not only saw his physical body, but I bet the disciples also perceived his spirit, his persona, who He really was. They perhaps were finally comprehending what Jesus was all about. Maybe they remember him turning water to wine, teaching crowds, seeking out individuals, living as a pauper, being hailed as a king, washing feet, crying, healing, and loving.
As the disciples consider these facets of Jesus, they know He is there for them. He came out of love and gave His life so others could live. He overcame darkness and He invited the world to walk a whole new way in His glorious light.
They were exuberant!
As they came to an authentic grasp of who Jesus was, why He’d come to earth and the depth of His love, the disciples’ fear dissipated and peace prevailed. Their joy ran fast, full, and free!
Lord Jesus, please help me see you now. I’ve got so many concerns swirling around in my head and heart; please calm my fears by reminding me you are here in our midst. Please help me take the time to remember you are here with me and to look at you. Give me eyes to see. Thank you. Amen.