This is another one of the many appearances Jesus made to His disciples during the forty days between His resurrection from the dead and His ascension into heaven. This one occurred on the first day – specifically, during the evening of the first day Jesus was raised.
So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
– John 20:19-23
Our heavenly bodies – that is, the bodies we receive after death – are different from our earthly bodies. For one thing, they’re not nearly so confining. You can visualize this as you think of Jesus being able to enter a room whose doors are shut.
This entrance must have given His disciples quite a start. Thus He quickly assures them: “Peace be with you.” By this time, they would have heard from others that Jesus was indeed resurrected, so it’s not as if they thought He was still dead. Nevertheless, His sudden appearance surely startled them.
As further proof of His identity, Jesus shows them the scars that the nails had made in His hands and the spear had made in His side. These are the sorts of assurances they would need as they began the arduous and dangerous work of taking His message to the nations – a mission to which they would apply themselves for the rest of their lives.
Jesus gave His apostles great authority (“If you forgive…”) and great support (“…the Holy Spirit”).
The New Testament we read, and upon which we rely as the wellspring of our faith, is the result of their obedience in the face of decades-long opposition.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, help us never forget the many sacrifices that brought word to us of Your great sacrifice…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)