Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. All of our resources exist to guide you toward everlasting joy in Jesus Christ. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld. The New Testament has 27 books: four gospels to tell the life of Jesus, 21 letters to explain the meaning of Jesus for our lives, one history about the early church, and one prophecy.
All 27 of those books deal with Jesus as alive, risen from the dead and the central, living reality in the universe today, he himself being very God and very man. And what I want us to see is: How did the risen Jesus act and what did the risen Jesus say? That first appearance to the disciples as a group happens in John — 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.
So this is the evening of the Sunday that he rose from the dead. That morning Jesus had appeared to Mary Magdalene John — But now he appears to all the disciples the eleven apostles at once. Notice three things: the doors are locked; the disciples are frightened; and Jesus comes to them and stands in their midst. Those three facts tell us three things we can know about how the risen Christ deals with us today.
Jesus did not have to knock. He did not even have to open the door. He simply was there. So he has a physical body. But not exactly like ours: the same, yet different. He was simply there, in spite of the closed doors. Which means that today in your life, Jesus can go where no one else can go. He can go where no counselor can go. He can go where no doctor can go. He can go where no lover can go. He can reach you, and reach into you, anywhere and any time.
Will All People Be Resurrected, or Just Believers? | Desiring God
There is no one else like him in all the universe. He is alive, and he is the one and only God-Man. What he is capable of you cannot imagine. And it is a healing wonder to contemplate that all the complex layers of your life, which neither you nor anyone else can understand, are familiar territory to him. Their fear is totally understandable.
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And into that fear Jesus comes. I suppose I want to draw your attention to this because this is the way I feel the need of risen, living Jesus most often. Fear that my children will make shipwreck of their faith. Fear that I might drift into worldliness and uselessness. And what Jesus is saying in this action is: I come to my own when they are afraid. I come to help them have enough faith to overcome fear.
The Power of God in Our Lives
And I testify after fifty years of being a Christian, this is still true. The risen, living Jesus is still doing this.
He comes when we cry out to him in our fear. He helps us. He will do this for you too, if you receive him into your life for who he really is.
- Gullivers Travels (The Penguin English Library).
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- Language Change (Cambridge Approaches to Linguistics).
He did not come to the edge and call out through the wall and deal with them as a distant deity. He wanted them to see him and know him and believe in him and love him. I want you to experience the living Jesus.
To know him. To have him draw near into your life where no one else can go. To have him help you in your fear the way no one else can help you. And to have him come to you — close to you, not calling to you from a distance, but coming right into your midst. Now what does he say? And what we see is that in this first appearance to the disciples he says three things or four, depending on how you count them.
Experiencing the Resurrection Study Guide: The Everyday Encounter That Changes Your Life
And these three things turn out to be three gifts to you: the gift of peace, the gift of power, and the gift of purpose. The opposite of peace is conflict. The opposite of power is weakness. The opposite of purpose is aimlessness. Many, many lives are ruined by conflict, weakness, and aimlessness.
Jesus did not come into the world and die and rise again to ruin your life. But to save it. And what we will see is that he saves us from ruining our lives by becoming himself our peace and our power and our purpose. I am praying that God will do this for you: Make Jesus your peace.
And Jesus your power. And Jesus your purpose. Before Jesus says anything about power or purpose he wants to establish peace. The order here is really important.
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The peace that Jesus gives is before and underneath any of our empowered actions or any of our purposeful deeds. He initiates peace with us. The peace that Jesus offers the disciples is peace that he accomplished when he died for them on the cross. I am the one you abandoned. And the reason I can offer you peace is because by my blood I have covered all your sins.
The wrath of God is turned away. Here, look at my side and my hands. I made peace with these. Justice was satisfied with these. However, underneath the straw-man, you do ask a legitimate question, and anyone who says they follow Jesus has to consider it—why would an all-powerful god even need a sacrifice?