John 20:19-23 Amplified Bible
Jesus among His Disciples
19 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “[a]Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven [because of their faith]; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained [and remain unforgiven because of their unbelief].”
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
In those moments of the death and resurrection, behind those barred doors of the Upper Room, can we even begin to imagine those disciples’ state of mind?
Many of Jesus’ followers had scattered for fear of their lives, and his closest disciples were hiding behind closed doors in fear of the religious authorities.
Their much beloved Rabbi (“Teacher”) had been crucified and then buried.
They had walked with Him for three long years and witnessed much, they had believed in him as the Messiah (the “Anointed One”), their promised deliverer.
Now, “cast off” doubts came rushing in – had it all been “too good to be true”?
Sure, they had just heard Mary’s highly excited message that Jesus had risen.
Peter and John had run to see the now-empty tomb, but that wasn’t even close to being the same thing as what Mary had experienced – seeing “Jesus IS alive!”
Was Mary mistaken?
Was it all “wishful thinking?”
Standing at the tomb in the dark, in her indescribable, immeasurable grief, had she only imagined seeing Jesus, through tear stained eyes, in an empty garden?
Did she see only what her impossibly desperate state of mind needed, wanted, to see, that she might find the only means of coping with the unbelievability?
Had others taken the body?
And Mary could not “handle the gravity” nor implications of, that possibility?
Where was her Rabbi that believed in her when no one else had dared to believe?
Bad news can be so easily believable!
Good news can seem so easily unbelievable!
Crucified and buried men don’t roll away unmovable stones, walk out of graves!
Were they being asked to believe: “impossible” witness and testimony of Mary?
Jesus didn’t keep his disciples waiting long.
That evening, “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’”
He stood before them, and then He spoke these words to them.
He showed them his wounds.
He greeted them with a familiar blessing, “Peace Be With You.”
Jesus gave them the peace and presence they had been missing.
And they were overjoyed.
Things had not been the way they were supposed to be, but now they were!
Today we too celebrate that God is with us!
God’s Peace is With Us!
Christ has risen!
He is alive, and he lives in us! Hallelujah!
Peace is possible!
But, how can we know such a magnitude of God’s Peace through Christ is real?
I cannot claim any similar experience as those disciples in the Upper Room.
I do not know if anyone outside of those disciples in the Upper Room can claim the Resurrected Jesus just appeared to them in their homes or anywhere else?
So we read the post resurrection texts from the Gospels of Luke and John and because I believe in the Word of God for His Children, I “accept” their efforts.
But still, there are the questions being asked by everyone of this moment such a sequence of events are wholly, miraculously unique to the Christian experience.
How about our giving God, through Christ Jesus the benefits, prayers of doubts?
How about our confidence in the Word of God regarding “God’s Perfect Peace?”
How about our confidence in ourselves such a magnitude of Peace is achievable?
You know, actually believing more in the promises of God than the promises of our enemies rust laden promises which we grow fat on, we obsessively feed on?
How Can We Know God Will Keep Us in Perfect Peace?
Isaiah 26:1-4 Amplified Bible
Song of Trust in God’s Protection
26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
“We have a strong city;
He sets up salvation as walls and ramparts.
“Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter,
The one that [a]remains faithful and trustworthy.
“You will keep in [b]perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both [c]inclination and character],
Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].
“Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner],
For the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].
Peace is possible even in our stressful, troubled world.
In Isaiah 26:3, the Bible promises that God and God alone “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
Here’s what it means to do that, so you can experience peace in any situation.
What Does ‘He Will Keep in Perfect Peace’ Mean?
Everyone who chooses to keep their minds steadfast because they trust in God can count on experiencing perfect peace while they do so, according to this verse.
That means you can enjoy a state of perfect peace as long as you focus your mind from beyond your circumstances to God, and trust him to help you no matter what.
As a result of choosing to trust God, you welcome God’s peace into your mind.
Some people chase after peace of mind from worldly achievements, such as through the wanton pursuit health and wealth and wellness.
Good circumstances may help you enjoy a temporary feeling of peace.
However, only God can actually provide complete and lasting peace.
God, who alone is perfect, is the only reliable source of peace.
Thankfully, God is willing to give that perfect peace to everyone who decides to trust him to provide it.
Trusting God involves being at peace with God through Jesus Christ since Jesus made it possible for all humanity to have relationships with God.
Ephesians 2:14 says about Jesus: “For he himself is our peace” and Ephesians 2:17-18 points out that, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”
When we have that close connection to God, we can experience peace even during the most challenging circumstances, because “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
John Gills Commentary puts it this way:
“this peace is true, real, and solid; in which sense the word “perfect” is used, in opposition to a false and imaginary one; and it will end in perfect peace in heaven: moreover, the word “perfect” is not in the Hebrew text, it is there “peace, peace”; which is doubled to denote the certainty of it, the enjoyment of it, and the constancy and continuance of it; and as expressive of all sorts of peace, which God grants unto his people, and keeps for them, and them in; as peace with God and peace with men, peace outward and peace inward, peace here and peace hereafter; and particularly it denotes the abundance of peace that believers will have in the kingdom of Christ in the latter day.”
What Is the Context and Background of Isaiah 26:3?
Isaiah 26:3 is part of a song of praise in which the biblical prophet Isaiah celebrates God’s trustworthiness to provide all that people need, including their ultimate need: salvation.
Isaiah sings about how Israel will be judged for their sins yet also restored by God, in his mercy. Isaiah predicts that God will save people from their sins.
Although people may sometimes be faithless toward God, God will always be faithful to his people, Isaiah emphasizes.
God is willing to redeem and restore, and his perfect peace enters the souls of all who decide they have worn out their trust in the world to just trust in Him.
So, Isaiah urges readers to trust in God.
He writes that it is “because they trust” in God that God “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast”.
The very next verse after Isaiah 26:3 emphasizes trust: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4).
How Can We Be Sure That We Will Be Kept in Perfect Peace?
We can be sure that God will keep us in perfect peace.
The Holy Spirit will renew our minds whenever we ask for help doing what’s necessary to be at peace: focusing on God and trusting him.
Romans 12:2 urges us all:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his pleasing and perfect will.”
The Spirit will help us access the perfect peace that God offers us.
Jesus promises in John 14:26-27:
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Peace is one of the nine “fruit of the Spirit” listed in Galatians 5:22-23.
As you invite the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, you can count on the Spirit’s help to do what Isaiah 26:3 calls you to do: trust in God with a steadfast mind.
A powerful way to pursue peace is to pursue wonder because experiencing wonder expands your awareness of God’s work in your life, and that gives you the assurance you need to trust God and be at peace.
And it can be a wonderful way for anyone to seek the perfect peace that only comes from God.
Here’s how it works:
Visualize Jesus on the cross, visualize the specific things that are troubling you.
Then see yourself walking toward Jesus and laying those things down at the foot of the cross for him to take care of for you.
Through a brief prayer, ask Jesus for help with every specific thing you’ve left there for him.
Entrust it all to his care.
See yourself walk away afterward, with your mind and heart open to receiving peace from Jesus.
Prayer ushers peace into your heart and mind,
according to Philippians 4:6-7, which says:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Characteristics of God’s Perfect Peace
We can be confident that the perfect peace God gives us will last.
The temporary peace of mind we may find from good circumstances in our lives can relieve some stress and anxiety for a while.
However, the peace that God gives isn’t limited to certain times or tied to specific circumstances.
The perfect peace of God is much more than simply the absence of stress and anxiety; it’s a deep and abiding knowledge of being loved and cared for by God no matter what.
Although that peace is beyond our understanding, it will guard our hearts and minds, promises Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 139 describes how near God’s Spirit is to us at all times and in all places.
Verses 7-10 point out:
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
We can be sure that we’re never out of the Holy Spirit’s reach.
So, we’re always able to access the perfect peace that God offers us through his Spirit.
After celebrating God’s sovereignty over all circumstances in life, the psalmist ends with a plea for God to renews his mind:
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
That can be our prayer in any situation.
When we pray to experience God’s peace through a steadfast mind that is focused on him, we can count on that happening.
The Holy Spirit will strengthen our faith by renewing our minds, and peace will come to us as a result.
“Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1 explains.
When you follow the advice of Isaiah 26:3, you can be confident that you’ll experience perfect peace from God.
Simply pray and ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind whenever you need help centering your focus on God.
The Spirit may direct your attention to a wondrous sign of God’s work in your life, or simply quiet your mind.
In the process, perfect peace will flow into your soul!
Perhaps that is why John added the words of John 20:22 to this narrative:
John 20:22 Amplified Bible
22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Words of Purpose!
The first words Jesus spoke to his frightened disciples after his resurrection were words of reassurance: “Peace be with you!”
Then he quickly gave them a renewed sense of purpose: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
With those words, Jesus was passing his mission on to his followers.
Perhaps you’ve seen a relay race in which one runner comes up behind the next and passes off the baton.
That’s what Jesus was doing here.
He was passing off the baton to his followers and saying, “Go! Finish the race!
Carry on the mission I began!
I ran the first leg; now you run the next.
Just as God the Father sent me into the world, now I am sending you into the world! Go!” (See John 17:18.)
18 Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned and sent them (believers) into the world.
Later, Jesus would remind his disciples again of that mission:
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
With whom can you and I share this good news of God’s Ultimate Peace today?
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Dear Lord, Help me daily to remember you are indeed Lord of my life. You have the right to rule all that I think, believe and do. When I allow my mind to run to places that destroy my peace, remind me these are unauthorized thoughts. You do not want me to dwell on thoughts and emotions that contribute to unreasonable fears. I know my mind will remain in perfect peace as I fix my thoughts on you; so Lord Jesus, let your peace rule in my heart. Remind me of the peace I have in the shadow of Your Cross and in your family, and I pray the Holy Spirit to teach me how to be thankful for those circumstances that cause me to run to you, focus on you, and abide in you. I never need to live with fearful, anxious thoughts. Truth is, you alone are in control!
Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.