Resurrection and Fear

After Jesus rose from the grave, the Apostle John records four meetings Jesus has with people. The first of these that I want to look at today is Jesus’ appearance in the locked room to His disciples. We read about it in this way:

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. (John 20:19-20)

There are three major things happening as Jesus enters this story bringing resurrection power in the midst of fear.

Jesus Comes Into and Stands Within Our Fears

It seemed like the locked room would not be penetrated by anything good or evil. The disciples were holding the door closed out of fear from others and fears circulating in their own minds and hearts. But Jesus came through the locked door and entered into their midst. No lock could hold Him out – neither could any fear hold Him out – because of His resurrection power.

The same is true for us today. We first acknowledge our fears before the Lord of all creation, and then we should allow Him to come into our fears. We can say, ‘Lord, I am afraid, but I need You to enter into this situation.’

It reminds me of Joshua, the leader of Israel after Moses. Moses, the strong leader of the people had died, and now Joshua was supposed to lead the people into the Promised Land of Canaan. He must have felt some fear over the battles they would face, about the difficulties he would encounter in leading the people, and about his own capabilities for this task. But in the midst of Joshua’s fears, God comes and stands in the midst, telling Joshua that He will be present with Him. God says:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)

God came and stood in the midst of Joshua’s fears. Jesus comes and stands in the midst of the disciples’ fears. So, too, does Jesus come and stand in the midst of our fears. He promised us that He would never leave us alone but would be with us (Matthew 28:20).

What fears do we have that we need to invite Jesus to come into and stand in the midst of? Jesus comes and stands within our fears.

Jesus Speaks to Our Fears

The second thing is this, though, that Jesus speaks to us within our fears. We read here again that “Jesus came and stood among them and said…” (20:19).

At times, fear can be a silencing power. We don’t know what to say, we don’t know who to talk to, we don’t know how to escape from our fears. But Jesus comes into the midst of the disciples’ situation and He is not overwhelmed by the fears in and around them. He is not silenced by those fears.

It is reminiscent of the time when He was out in a boat with His disciples on the stormy waves of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus’ disciples feared the worst, but we read in Mark 4:39:

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39, NKJV)

You see, when our fears rise up like the stormy winds and waves around us, Jesus enters in and brings His peace. He speaks to our fears, whatever they may be. He addresses them…and He addresses them as one with authority. Jesus speaks to our fears.

Jesus Brings Peace and Joy to Replace Our Fears

Thirdly, Jesus speaks ‘peace’ to our fears. Twice in this story, Jesus says, “Peace be with you!” to the disciples (20:19, 21). While in some ways, this giving of peace was a common greeting, it is clear that there is more going on here. Jesus is speaking that sort of calming word that comes to those who meet with the holy God. He is speaking peace to sinful and broken people that should ease their fears when facing a holy and pure God.

But more than that, Jesus is speaking to these disciples the shalom of God. Jesus is telling them that even though it seemed like all was over, the apparent end was not the end. He is telling them that He has come to make things right.

  • He has come to make things right eternally by dealing the final blow to evil and death
  • He has come to make things right socially by bringing restoration to relationships
  • He has come to make things right materially by caring for the least of these, the orphan, and the widow
  • He has come to make things right internationally by winning the battle and establishing Himself as the king of the nations

Jesus is the Prince of Peace, it says, in Isaiah 9:6. His kingdom of peace is already begun yet not fully realized. Still, He is speaking His peace into the world that we live in. He is speaking His peace into our real fears.

Jesus comes and stands in the midst of fears, He speaks to our fears, and brings peace to our fears.

This is why the disciples were, as John writes, “overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” Jesus’ presence and words bring peace and joy to the disciples to replace their fears. Jesus brings peace and joy to replace our fears, as well.

Paul writes in Philippians 4:6-7:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)

What fear do we need to ask Jesus to come into and stand in the midst of? What place do we need to turn our anxiety into prayer so that God’s peace can pour over our hearts? The Psalmist writes:

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. (Psalm 56:3)

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