“Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’”(John 20:19).
Mary told the disciples about her wonderful experience, but the disciples had their doubts. They didn’t believe her testimony. They loved Jesus, they missed Him, the separation was painful, but they lacked the faith to believe that He had risen from the dead. Their fear made them choose to mourn for an entire day rather than to believe. Jesus appeared to Mary on Sunday morning, and it wasn’t until the evening that He appeared to the rest of the disciples.
Jesus appeared five times on the day of His resurrection: to Mary Magdalene (see Mark 16:9); to the other women (see Matthew 28:8, 9); to Simon Peter (see Luke 24:34); to the two who were walking to Emmaus (see Mark 16:12, 13); and finally, to ten of the disciples (see John 20:19). Fear wraps itself around you and makes you miss out on many opportunities; don’t put your destiny in its hands. Hiding in order to feel safe is a natural reaction to fear, and that is what the disciples did. The last message that Jesus had given them was to not be afraid, and for them to receive His peace. Peace is the opposite of fear: where there is fear, there is no peace, and where there is peace, there is no fear.
Later that day, while the disciples hid, the door of the room where they were was liked shut, but Jesus came and presented Himself to them. How did Jesus get into the room? He was no longer limited by a human body, and doors were no barrier for Him to meet with His group of trembling disciples. The disciples imagined that Jesus would reproach them for having deserted Him in such a cowardly way on Friday, but His first words were “Peace be to you.”
What good news it is to know that Jesus can pass through doors and find you wherever you are, full of fear, and share His peace and His perfect calm with you: “Those who take Christ at His word and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the World can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest. When we receive Christ into the soul as an abiding guest, the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, will keep our hearts and minds.
There is no other ground of peace than this. The grace of Christ, received into the heart, subdues enmity; it allays strife and fills the soul with love.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 249, August 30.