Jesus Came – Good News or Bad News?
It was Easter evening with news still ringing in the disciple’s ears that the women had seen Jesus. Then, Jesus came and stood among them. Now, is this good news or is this bad news? This is quite a relevant question because at the beginning of this service, we called upon Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be present among us. We called upon God, holy God, to come and stand in our midst.
So for the disciples, to answer the question “Is this good news or bad news,” they must first answer the question, “What does Jesus want to do with me?” These men had made promises to be faithful and follow Jesus and every single one of them failed at those promises. They had denied him. They had fled from him. They could not to pray for themselves, for their friends, or Jesus the way that He commanded them to. They could not keep watch over their flesh as they were commanded to. They were full of regrets for what they had done. They were ashamed of who they were. They were frightened over the future of their life, both that life and the life to come when they met their Judge.
What does Jesus want?
Do you want to see the one whom you have not followed faithfully followed, but rejected and denied? Maybe you want to know, “Does He want to see me?” and “Why does He want to see me? Does He want to come and punish me? Yell at me? War against me? Rightfully show me His wrath?”
Jesus Speaks Peace
John 20: On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Jesus is at peace with you. Your heavenly Father is at peace with you. See the wounds from the war, with the treaty signed in blood from these wounds. The strife is over, the victory won. “Peace.”
Now, They Are Glad
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. How they felt before Jesus said “Peace” is not mentioned in the text, but it is not hard to imagine. If you love Jesus, and love and know His word, then you also know that you have not kept it. You have not believed it as you should. As a child of God, you would recognize that you have brought shame upon your Father’s name and your Brothers name by shameful words and actions. As a child of God, you would recognize that you have also brought shame upon your Father’s name and your Brothers name by shamelessly treating others with a dirty mouth and a darkened heart – those others for whom your heavenly Father loves.
Peace Instead of Anger
But Jesus speaks peace. He did not take His anger and blow up at them – “I can’t believe you did that. How many times do I need to just tell you to listen to me and yet you refuse.” He didn’t take his anger and become passive aggressive – “Oh, hey guys, do I know you? I’ve got to scatter out of here. I think I hear a rooster crowing and I didn’t get as much sleep as you did a few nights ago.” He didn’t take the anger that they deserved and put a fake smile on and say, “Oh, no big deal,” but bury it so that it becomes hard and that He becomes bitter and resentful which would soon show later in how little He actually forgave them at that time. He didn’t say “peace” to them but turn around and roll His eyes and say to some others, “Can you believe these chumps?” In other words, He does not do what we too often do in our anger.
His Word Is Not Fake
His word of peace to you is full of love and truth and contains no deception. There is no more anger that God has for you. Judgment has been met. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are satisfied with the payment. Look at His hands and His side. Peace be with you.
That word is your life. It brings life to your dead heart and to your dead bones. Hope is not lost. You are not cut off. Peace.
You can say, “My heart from care is free, no trouble troubles me. Misfortune now is play, and night is turned as day.” Peace.
Overcoming the World
1 John 5: For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. Dear baptized saints, born of God, overcoming this world means a battle in overcoming the world temptations including sinful and unrighteous anger that shows up in our sarcasm, in our blow ups, in our passive aggressiveness, in our gossip, in our unwillingness to forgive and in our resentment and bitterness toward others and even toward God. Anger can come out against God when you are given something you didn’t want in your body or life, when you are commanded to do something you didn’t want to do or to stop doing something that you are doing, or when you are surrounded by people you didn’t want to be surrounded with. But overcoming the world is not a matter of self reflecting and navel gazing, it is found in this – 1 John 5: And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Faith Clings to This Word: “Peace”
That Jesus who broke through death’s chain, all sin and pain and shatter’s hell is the Jesus who calls you to follow Him through all. You God-given faith hears from the voice of God that He is at peace with you. Jesus comes, Jesus speaks, “peace,” “forgiven.” You are safe from hell, the devil and his powers. You are safe from evil – even the evil of your sin. He gives you joy by breathing into you the Holy Spirit, a joy and gift that no sadness can take away. Jesus comes. Jesus speaks. Jesus comes not only by water, but also by blood shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins. For ones who are full of regret and shame and fright, is that good news or is that bad news?