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!”
Peace be with you!
Devotion based on John 20:19
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Fear can be absolutely paralyzing, can’t it? I have a fear of heights. If I am someplace where my mind tells me I could fall and be seriously injured or die, my heart begins to race, and I can hardly move an inch. Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing. Or maybe for you, it is a fear of spiders or snakes, public speaking, water, or tight spaces. It doesn’t matter whether the danger is real or not. Fear paralyzes us.
Jesus’ disciples were terrified. They had seen him tied up and taken away by his enemies. Some of them were there when they killed him. They watched the life drain out of his body and saw him take his last breath. What Jesus’ enemies did to him was so brutal, so hateful, so final. What would stop them from doing the same thing to them?
So they hid, locked behind closed doors. They hid even after they heard reports that Jesus was alive. They didn’t believe the news. Fear paralyzed them. They lacked proof. They lacked peace.
Suddenly, Jesus was standing right in front of them. And the first thing Jesus said was, “Peace be with you.” It was his promise that they had nothing to fear, because everything was right between them and God. He would not hold their fears against them. He would not curse them for their confusion or damn them for their doubts. Those things were forgiven. They were left there on the cross when Jesus died.
The risen Jesus says the same thing to you. “Peace be with you. Your fears and failures are forgiven. I was condemned and cut off from God’s love so that you will not be. I am alive as proof that God has accepted my life as payment for your guilt. Everything is good between you and me, between you and God.” With the proof that he is alive, Jesus gives the gift of peace to fearful hearts.
Risen Savior, when guilt, shame, and uncertainty try to fill me with fear, let your resurrection bring me peace. Amen.