Hi it’s Mick here and welcome to Wednesday’s Podcast at STC. We continue in our theme today of ‘encouragement’ as we reflect on the last verses of John 20. Our reading is John 20:19-31 and tells the story of the first encounter the first disciples had with the risen Jesus. It’s a gripping story which you can hear on this Podcast before the worship song, but today our focus is on an amazing phrase Jesus uses throughout this story; a phrase which transformed his listeners then and can transform us now. Jesus said ‘Peace be with you’
We read in this passage that Jesus’ appearance to the disciples brought them great joy (v20) and then we read that three times he says to them ‘Peace be with
you’ (vv19, 21 & 26) To offer ‘peace’ was, and is a common Hebrew greeting – but this was different. He tells them earlier in chapter 14 that this is a ‘peace’ that the
world cannot give, in fact five times in John’s gospel he talks about this ‘peace’ – three times in this passage and again chapter 14:27 and 16:33. You will find around
two hundred and fifty references to ‘peace’ in the Bible – it’s what God gives to those who believe.
This ‘peace’ is a gift from heaven and with all gifts, we are not meant to analyse but just receive it! This gift from heaven brings great encouragement to us every day
as we follow Jesus. What is this ‘peace’ that Jesus speaks about here and how do I receive it today?
This peace is not just an absence of noise and hassle, which is our normal definition of ‘peace’ . The word used in this passage actually means ‘to make whole, to bring together’ – this ‘peace’ is supernatural, it’s from heaven, it’s God’s wholeness in our lives. Here are ten truths about this ‘peace’ which Jesus offers. You’re not expected to learn them all but as I read them out, which ones resonate with you today? That’s Jesus speaking to you!
This ‘peace’ …
1. Not something you get but something you become – lifestyle of peace
2. Daily encounter with Jesus which empowers you for the day.
3. Holistic – peace in body, mind and spirit.
4. Not just tranquility but transformation.
5. A new confidence for the challenges of life.
6. Enables us God to shape our day not our ever changing circumstances.
7. Built on the foundation of God’s love.
8. Fruit of faith in our lives
9. Is to be given away to those around us through prayer and acts of kindness
10. Assurance that Jesus is Lord of our lives – nothing is beyond him.
In my own life I can recall times when I have not asked Jesus for his peace, looked to sort things out in my own strength and it was generally never a good outcome.
However, there have been many other times when I have invited the Lord in and his peace has transformed me personally in times of challenge and brought breakthrough in situations I have faced.
So be encouraged today that in a busy, fast changing, demanding world, the peace of Jesus is a gift he offers to all who believe in him, so we don’t have to fear the future, but face it with a peace-filled confidence.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your peace, that peace which this world cannot give. In this moment I hear you say to me “Peace be with you!” And whatever this day and the days ahead hold for me, every day I will receive your peace. Amen.
READING: John 20:19-31
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.
Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’
But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.’
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’
Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’
Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.