Usually these weeks before celebrating Easter, our sermons, readings, and devotionals reflect the upcoming celebration of Jesus’ resurrection of the cross. This year Easter seems to have been buried beneath the current events. But Palm Sunday is still almost upon us, followed by the Holy Week. These words I post were written a year ago, however like all of God’s words, it’s message is timeless and timely.
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 among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19
An empty tomb.
The tomb which had held Jesus, their Saviour, their teacher, their friend, was empty. The broken body of their King, gone.
Peter and John, along with the other disciples (except for Judas for he had betrayed Jesus, and for Thomas who was not with them that day) drew together behind a locked door. John’s gospel teaches it was a first day of the week, and Peter and John had recently witnessed an empty tomb except for strips of linen, and the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.
An empty tomb.
Although scripture does not name the room where the disciples were hiding that day, bible scholars think it may have been the room upstairs where they stayed before (Act 1:13) and reference it as the Upper Room.
In the Upper Room that day, I imagine the disciples fear and sadness laced the air, along with the lingering smell of bread and wine from their last supper when Jesus, their Saviour, their teacher, their friend was still there.
I imagine Peter feeling regret, the roosters crow still echoing in his mind.
I imagine John, tears flowing freely in grief and wondering how best to honour his Saviour’s request to take care of Jesus’ mother, Mary.
I imagine, even though they huddled together, the room felt empty without the presence of Jesus whose love they had known.
A love that now seemed gone, with an empty tomb while they huddled in that locked Upper Room.
And, I imagine, all the disciples hoping they could have just one more day with Him.
Then, He is suddenly standing before them.
“Peace be with you,” He says.
Peace be with you.
Even after all He had endured—whippings, a crown of thorns, a cross to carry, nails in His hands, and all the sin of the world upon Him…
His first words to His beloved disciples were to settle their grieving, fearful, and shameful hearts.
“Peace be with you!”
And “The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.” John 20:20.5
Even when all seems empty, gone–a loved one, a job, a dream, a friend, a child moving out, consequences from a mistake- and your heart is grieving, may you remember Jesus first words to His disciples that day He appeared.
“Peace be with you.”
Those words are for you too, today and forever more.
Lynn J Simpson is just a gal doing life one step at a time. You can find more of her Breathing Spaces Photography at Lynn J Simpson Photography. You can also check out her publications at Publications.