I got to preach again recently. I don't know why they keep giving me a microphone. Here's some more of what I shared.
So let’s make sure we’re on the same page. John 20 records the events of the very first Easter Sunday. The actions of the disciples are a bit curious. Here’s the timeline we’re given.
· Mary Magdalene shows up at the tomb, to find the stone rolled away.
· Mary runs to find Peter and John and shares the news with them.
· John outruns Peter to the tomb (Pete would later say John got a head start), where they see the tomb is empty and the burial clothes are folded. (Note to children; even Jesus folded His stuff when getting up from the dead, so perhaps you can make your bed.)
· According to John 20:10, after seeing an empty grave, the disciples went home. Of course they did! Maybe it was time for lunch. Jesus will still be resurrected after we eat, right?
· Mary stays around and Jesus shows up and tells her about His impending resurrection.
· Mary tells the disciples.
· That evening, they lock themselves in a room. Why not? For all they know, it’s a Zombie Apocalypse happening in Jerusalem with these reports of dead men walking around.
Let’s keep in mind this all centers on Jesus. This is the Jesus that called these guys, spent 3 years with these guys. If they spent their weekend mourning their loss and regretting their cowardice at Jesus’ moment of need, then how do you explain them not jumping at the chance for redemption? I get that they did not yet understand from scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead (John 20:9). What I don’t get is why they’re not out somewhere looking for Him.
Mary tells them she’s seen Jesus. Now what? ‘Let’s go hide!’ ‘Maybe He’ll find us.’
Jesus does find them. After the events of Friday, you might assume He has some stern looks and words of rebuke for these guys. I might have used my go to love language in dealing with them. Hey guys, remember when you were going to follow me? How about a do-over? Or, Hey guys, I hope you didn’t pull any muscles when you ran from the scene while I was busy dying for your sins and all.
But this is Jesus. He offers them peace.
19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” ~John 20:19-23
In fact, He offers them peace twice, no doubt to ensure they get it. He says, ‘As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ (John 20:21). Then He speaks to them about forgiveness.
You only have one chance to make a first impression. So why does Jesus choose peace and forgiveness as His first words to the disciples, post-resurrection? Could it be that peace and forgiveness is supposed to be the first thing we’re giving to people? Could it be, since Jesus is sending us in the same way that God the Father sent Him, that He was once again modeling for us the method of relating to people?
Jesus offered peace.