Malankara World

Easter (Pascha)

Peace Through a Resurrected Saviour

by Ralph Bouma

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, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you (John 20:19).

None but a resurrected Saviour can speak peace to any. "Peace be to you" was the blessed greeting of the Prince of Life to His disciples after His victory over death, hell and the grave.

This blessed peace purchased by the Prince of Peace by the price of His own life's blood was the glad tidings of the angelic carol in the night of our Lord's nativity. We read this in Luke 2:13-14: "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." We fallen men can have peace despite trials. This peace was purchased at the price of Christ's blood.

Peace between man and God was broken in the Garden of Eden. Peace in the heart and peace between man and man was lost. The first man born on the face of the earth was a murderer. Jealousy, a vindictive spirit, hatred, malice against God and our neighbor resulted from the fall. Outside of the restraining grace of God, living on earth would be a living hell.

The disciples were burdened with shame and guilt. Peter had denied his Lord, and the others had forsaken Him. They were living in fear for their own lives, but when the resurrected Jesus revealed Himself He did not upbraid them for their desertion.

So also it shall be when we come to meet Him face to face 'with all our miserable failures and shortcomings' all our bitter attitudes and unjust sins of omission and commission. All our miserable divisions and variances will be put behind His back in that sea of everlasting forgetfulness. But how do we know this? Look at Hebrews 13:8-9: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein." We cannot allow ourselves to have a dialogue with Satan and have doubts and fears trouble us. We need to look away from ourselves and our shortcomings and then we will find peace in a risen Lord, who has gained victory over sin, death and the grave.

Just yesterday, that is, in effect, the last thing Jesus told His disciples before He was crucified was what we read in John 16:32- 33:

"Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

Peace was our Saviour's yesterday Word, and "Peace" is His salutation today. He qualified what He meant by this word peace in John 14:26-27:

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

We learn that we can have perfect peace under all circumstances, and this peace is for all eternity.

The first words of our risen Saviour were: "Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou?" (John 20:15).

Our risen Saviour was still going about His Father's business. We read in Isaiah 61:1-3:

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."

He still comforts those who mourn. He still speaks peace in the hearts of those who are tried and harassed by Satan.

The question, "why weepest thou?" shall be answered for all the household of faith when we receive faith to recognize our risen Lord. This is what is lacking if we do not have peace. Look at Isaiah 25:8: "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it."

Our Saviour's second question was even more searching. "Whom seekest thou?" or who is this that you are seeking among the dead?

You cannot serve the things of this life, the things of death, and find Jesus in the things of this life. She was looking into a tomb to find the living Christ. Had she forgotten His words to Martha just before He raised Lazarus from the dead? We read in John 11:21- 28:

"Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee."

Notice how Mary was so absorbed in her love for Jesus that she supposed everyone would know who it was that she sought. Three times in answering Jesus' question "Whom seekest thou?, she spoke of "Him" without mentioning His Name. We read in John 20:15: "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away."

Mary, like the Shulamite crying out to the watchmen supposed everyone would know who it was that her very soul loved. We read in Song of Solomon 3:3: "The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?"

It is just in such times of our utmost extremity that our Saviour appears to speak peace. As Mary had reached the extremity of her anxiety her resurrected Lord and Saviour revealed Himself to her as the King of Peace while she was pleading, "Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away." Did she realize that it would be beyond her ability to take Him away? Yet, strength is made perfect in weakness.

It is important we notice this was her Lord's second utterance to Mary. First calling her "woman," He spoke to her as God unto His creature, but in calling her by name He spoke to her as her Saviour and Redeemer!

When our Lord calls us by name He reveals the family relationship into which He has entered with us. Look at Hebrews 2:11-12: "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." The Lord calls us by His name by giving us His Spirit so others can see Christ formed in us.

See how this intimate relationship is implied when Moses pleaded with the Lord in Exodus 33:12b: "Thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight." This means that we are brothers with Christ and part of the family of God. When He calls us by name this means we have found grace in His sight.

Our Saviour's own words support that intimate family relationship Christ has with those He calls by name. We read in John 10:3-4: "To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice."

It seals our redemption when our Lord calls us by name as we see from Isaiah 43:1: "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine."

Along with this blessed seal of the Spirit goes our assurance that we have but to follow our blessed Shepherd as He goes before us. Look at Isaiah 43:2-3: "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee." See the personal relationship the risen Saviour has with those who follow Him.

See how immediately Mary went from the anxiety of seeking the Living among the dead to a mind of perfect peace in subjection to a risen Christ as we see in John 20:16: "Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master." One word from her Master was enough to transform an anxious weeping Mary into a worshipper who had found perfect peace.

Immediately following His revelation to Mary, on the same day the Lord Jesus came speaking peace to His disciples as their hearts were burning with anxiety.

Their first reaction was not the same as Mary. They were afraid. We read in Luke 24:36-37: "And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit."

Our blessed Lord has various ways of revealing Himself. See how He set his disciples at peace so patiently reasoning with their logic. Look at verses 38-40: "And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet."

Our blessed Lord has His own way of revealing that family relationship He has with His own sheep. The disciples may have thought they had been forsaken, but see how our Lord revealed that they were called by name. How do we know that the Lord is calling us by name? We experience it in different ways. Isaiah 49:14-16 says: "But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." Jesus revealed Himself to His disciples by showing them that their names were written in His palms. That is how He showed them He could speak peace.

The Gospel of John reveals Jesus in a different dimension than Luke. He reveals Christ as the Son of God, and his view was shown in John 20:19b-20: "Jesus stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord." The Gospel of John does not record the failures of the flesh like Luke does. Luke teaches us the Son of Man. He shows the weakness of the flesh in the disciples, but John omitted that. John did not say that sometimes joy comes after a delay.

This word so indicates there was a close connection between this act of Christ and His spoken Word. The act of showing the wounds of His hand is connected to Him speaking peace to them. The marks in His hands and side not only established His identity, not only were His trophies of His victory over death and the grave, but they taught them as they teach you and me that the price of the peace He has made for us with a Holy and Righteous God was His death on the cross.

In saying "Peace be unto you," He said that all the enmity between fallen sinners and His holy Father had been removed by His atonement, or, that is, the reconciliation He purchased. We read in Ephesians 2:15-19: "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God."

When He speaks peace in our hearts He takes away all fear of the consequences of sin.

"Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord." Their fears were all gone, their hopes fulfilled, their hearts satisfied. Now indeed their Lord and Master had made good that He had promised.

John 16:20-22 says: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you."

There is a joy in believing that Satan and the world cannot take away.

Source: Gospel Chapel Ministries

See Also:

Passion Week Supplement in Malankara World

Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for Kyomtho - Easter Sunday

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