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Peace be with you!

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Happy Easter!
There is a tradition in the church, where the worship leader will say, “He is Risen!” Then, the people will respond, “He is Risen, Indeed!”
Will you please join me in this tradition, this morning?
He is Risen!
He is Risen, Indeed!
Christ our Lord is Risen from the dead!
He has conquered sin and death! What good news at this time in our lives, and the situation in this world.
This morning, I would like to look at with you all. We have been studying in John for some time, I am looking forward to this passage today.
In this chapter, Jesus is risen, and appears to his disciples. And He says something to them, that I believe is important. It was relevant to them, and it is relevant to us today. And he didn’t just say it one time. He repeats it. What was it he said?
Well, let’s read the passage together, and then, I’ll ask if you spotted it. So, pay attention. See if you can spot what Jesus says a few times after he rose from the dead.
John 20:1–31 NIV
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying. Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. 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 and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:1-
Did you catch the phrase that Jesus repeated? What was it?

Peace be with you!

I see peace throughout this passage both in Jesus’ actions, and in his words. Jesus said this phrase, “Peace be with you,” three times!
One of the Themes of Easter is that Jesus wants us to have Peace!
Jesus wants us to have it, and honestly, I believe everyone wants it. However, peace always seems to be so fleeting. It is here one moment, and gone the next.
Peace is something that everyone wants, but seems to be fleeting.
Today, as we focus on this passage, and the setting of that first Easter, my prayer is that God will give us a better understanding of:
Peace is something that everyone wants, but seems to be fleeting.
What peace is
What robs us of peace
How to have true peace
First,
First,
First,

What is peace?

Often we speak of peace in this world as an absence of conflict between nations.
Other times we speak of an inner peace, which people all long for.
What is peace? What is the peace the Jesus wanted for his disciples?
Webster’s defines peace in these ways:

1peace \ˈpēs\ noun

[Middle English pees, from Anglo-French pes, pees, from Latin pac-, pax; akin to Latin pacisci to agree—more at PACT] 12th century

1: a state of tranquillity or quiet: as

a: freedom from civil disturbance

b: a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom 〈a breach of the peace〉

2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions

3: harmony in personal relations

4 a: a state or period of mutual concord between governments

b: a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity

5 —used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell—at peace: in a state of concord or tranquillity

In considering the definitions, I believe the first really captures the meaning of the word. And though the rest of the definitions seems to define peace, I think that those other definitions truly show what people think will give them peace. The rest of the definitions are circumstances which people think will give them peace.
So, my definition of peace is:

Peace is a calmness of heart and mind.

Peace is truly what is happening on the inside, more than what is happening on the outside. Peace is found inwardly in the heart and mind, and though it can be greatly influenced by outward circumstances, it is not determined by outward circumstances.
I think we need to come to a fuller comprehension of this, otherwise, we will constantly be looking to fix our outward circumstances to find peace, instead of finding peace from the true source of peace.
That is what peace is. A calmness of heart and mind. It is inward. Influenced by outward circumstances, but not determined by outward circumstances.
I thought this was illustrated well in a short story by M.R. deHaan. He told of two painters who were supposed to give a painting of peace.
The first artist painted a young boy in a boat on a calm lake, in which there was not a ripple on the water.
That would be the definition of peace which is determined by outward circumstances.
The second artist painted a bird in its next. However, the nest was on a narrow limb, hanging out in the midst of a raging waterfall. The circumstances were not calm and peaceful. However, the bird was at peace in its nest, even with the turmoil of the falls around it.
That made me think of times when the circumstances of life were hard, but somehow, I was at peace. Have you ever been there? Or, have you seen someone else, that you thought should be anything but peaceful due to the circumstances they were in, but yet, there they were, at peace?
Which is true peace? The right circumstances, or the right heart in the circumstances?
I believe peace an attitude of the heart and mind in the midst of whatever circumstances.
The circumstances have an influence, but do not determine the attitude of peace.
W
That leads us to our next point.

What robs us of peace?

As I mentioned, I think Webster’s definitions actually give us a lot of the outward circumstances which people think will give peace. If we think about those, we find the things which rob us of peace.
What robs us of peace?
Well, as seen in the definitions:
Robbers of peace:
disturbances in our surroundings
trouble in society around us
our own thoughts and emotions
troubled personal relationships
trouble between communities, groups, nations
These are all things which have the potential to rob us of peace. They can rob us of that inner calm and quietness.
While I say have the potential, it may be more honest to confess that these things tend to rob us of peace. They don’t have to, but they tend to rob us of peace.
Why? Because we have grown accustomed to finding peace in our circumstances, instead of finding the true source of peace. So, when circumstances change, there goes our peace!
They don’t have to, but they tend to rob us of peace. Why? Because we have grown accustomed to finding peace in our circumstances, instead of finding the true source of peace. So, when circumstances change, there goes our peace!
So, though it seems that circumstances determine whether we have peace, they only do so if we haven’t found the true source of peace. They can rob us of peace when we lose sight of the true source of peace.
That is what is going on in .
Let me illustrate this through the setting of Easter. In , we find Mary and the disciples being robbed of peace.
The opening of the chapter
What is really interesting is that I see this playing out in the passage for today, .
You see, when Jesus was with them, teaching, preaching and doing his miracles, they were at peace.
Think about this with me.
That last night before Jesus was betrayed, Jesus warned them of what was to come, but after telling them what would happen, he said to them,
John 14:27 NIV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
So, what the dictionary is defining after the first root definition of peace, are the circumstances in which people tend to think peace comes, because the things which rob us of peace are absent.
Jesus knew that circumstances were coming which would want to rob them of peace. However, he wanted them to have peace through it all. He did not want them to be afraid. He did not want them to be troubled.
But then it all happened. Just as Jesus said it would.
Jesus was betrayed.
They all abandoned him.
Peter denied even knowing him.
Jesus was crucified and buried.
They were alone.
What was robbing them of peace?
1. disturbances in our surroundings
When we find Mary, she was going to annoint Jesus’ body. But things were disturbed. The tomb was open. Jesus’ body was not there. Things were not like she planned.
When we find Mary, she was going to annoint Jesus’ body. But things were disturbed. The tomb was open. Jesus’ body was not there. Things were not like she planned.
Then, Peter and John went to look, and sure enough the body was gone. It says that John believed, but it immediately says that they still did not understand that Jesus had to rise from the dead. They believed the body was gone. Not that he had risen as he said he would.
They all lacked peace because things were not like they wanted, or expected.
2. trouble in society around us
Down in verse 19, we find that the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. They were afraid because they thought that the rulers who put Jesus to death would come after them to put an end to everything Jesus had done.
They did not have peace because they were afraid of what was going on in society around them.
our own thoughts and emotions
3. our own thoughts and emotions
I imagine that the disciples and Mary all were feeling pretty guilty for not standing up for Jesus. Peter, James and John did not stay up to pray with him, even though he asked them to do so repeatedly. They held back and watched everything from a distance. Now, they had to live with their guilt and shame of abandoning Jesus.
Their own guilt and shame robbed them of peace.
4. troubled personal relationships
Later, we find Thomas was not with them when Jesus appeared the first time. Why not? John does not tell us. But when he does come back and they tell him, he refuses to believe. He would not trust the others.
He was robbed of peace because his relationship with the others was strained.
They were robbed of peace as they looked for peace in the way the world gives it… circumstantially.
Jesus wanted them to have peace. He warned them about the circumstances that were coming, and yet he had told them that he was giving them peace.
They did not have peace because they were looking at their circumstances. They allowed those circumstances to rob them of the peace that Jesus gave them.
Then, into their situation, into their circumstances, comes Jesus.
He appears to them, and each time he says, “Peace be with you.” He didn’t say the words to Mary, but he gave her peace didn’t he?
Again, Jesus is trying to show them how to have true peace. Not peace dependent upon their circumstances, but true peace, that calmness of heart and mind.

How to have true peace

So, how did Jesus teach them to have true peace? What did Jesus do to show them where true peace comes from?
First, Jesus’ words to Mary.
John 20:17
John 20:17 NIV
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
What does this verse have to do with peace? How was Mary to have peace from this? Mary was to find peace in having God as her Father.

Peace with God the Father

Do you remember Mary Magdalene's past? She was woman from whom Jesus drove seven demons. Seven is often used as a number of completion. She was completely possessed by these demons. How? She had likely had sin in her life that allowed those demons to take control.
If anyone was far from God, it was Mary Magdalene. Jesus had saved her from those demons. But I wonder if Mary still felt like God was too good for her. Like she could never be too close to him.
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever wondered if your past sins, though forgiven in Jesus, keep you from being too close to God the Father?
Yes, our sin separated us from God the Father. Our sin is the ultimate thing which robs us of peace. It robs us of being at peace with God, and the guilt and shame associated with our sin rob us of that inner peace which God desires for us, that peace which Jesus gives.
The point of Easter is that Jesus reconciles us to God the Father!
Romans 5:1 NIV
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
No longer is God just the Father of Jesus, who is our savior. We now have peace with God!
God is now our Father, just as he is the Father to Jesus!
That is why Jesus said to Mary, ()
John 20:17 NIV
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
“I am ascending to my Father and YOUR FATHER, to my God and YOUR GOD!”
Through Jesus dying and rising again for us, we now have peace with God. He is our Father. He is our God. Nothing can separate us from him or his love for us!
That had to be great news to Mary. It should be the best of news to us! You are a child of God the Father! He loves you! Whatever your circumstances, your Heavenly Father loves you and wants to be there for you.
Next, Jesus shows his disciples that we have

Peace through Jesus, conqueror of sin and death

When Jesus showed up with his disciples. They were isolated. Hiding out in a locked room, in fear.
Jesus did not change their circumstances. But he did show up to be with them. And he said, “Peace be with you.” He meant for them to have peace in the midst of their circumstances. How?
He showed them his hands and side. Yes, the religious leaders that the disciples feared did put Jesus to death. They did their worst to him. They put nails through his hands and feet. They had a soldier pierce his heart and lungs. He had been put to death. But, here he was! He was alive!
Jesus conquered sin and death! There was nothing that men could do to them. They would be alive with Christ forevermore! No sin could separate them, because he paid for sin. No death could separate because he conquered death!
Jesus gave his disciples peace in the midst of the prospect of beatings and death, because he would be with them, and give them life everlasting!
Galatians 5:2
Jesus’ disciples were also likely lacking peace as they wondered what to do now? Now that Jesus was gone, what would they do? They had dedicated their lives to following him. What purpose did they have now? Lacking direction and purpose could rob us of peace.
However, Jesus gave them peace, and purpose.
John 20:21 NIV
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Jesus was giving them the mission to take the good news that God loves, and wants to save mankind to the world! He was sending them on mission.
Now the disciples had hope of eternal life, and purpose until they would be called home to be with their savior!
No matter what they would face from now on, they had hope and purpose. Jesus gave that to them. He gave them peace of mind, in that they would never have to be without hope and purpose.
John 20:27 NIV
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
He also gave them peace another way. He gave them
J

Peace from the Holy Spirit

Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit would come after he returned to the Father. He had assured them that the Holy Spirit would guide the into truth, and remind them of all that Jesus taught.
He promised that the Holy Spirit would be in them, and with them forever.
Now, Jesus breathed on them, showing them how they would receive the Spirit, and how the Spirit would enable them to do the ministry.
Jesus called the Spirit the comforter. And that is one of the things the Holy Spirit does. He gives us comfort, no matter our outward circumstances.
As Paul tells us in ,
Galatians 5:22 NIV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
The Holy Spirit produces peace in our hearts and minds. Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit, who gives us peace.
Lastly, Jesus gives us peace another way, as seen in his interaction with Thomas.

Peace by faith

Thomas was struggling. He didn’t believe the other disciples. We aren’t told exactly why, but he would not believe until he stuck his own fingers into the nail holes, and his hand into Jesus’ side.
So, Jesus appears to the disciples again, and specifically addresses Thomas.
John 20:26–27 NIV
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Jesus told Thomas to believe.
Jesus gives us peace. However, if we won’t receive what he offers through faith, we won’t have it.
Just like salvation from our sins. Jesus paid the price. He offers forgiveness, righteousness and eternal life to whoever will receive it by faith.
In the same way, Jesus offers peace to those who believe in him. However, we won’t have it if we don’t believe him.
This is nothing new. Isaiah wrote about this,
Isaiah 26:3 NIV
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
We need to believe Jesus when he offers us peace. We need to set our minds on Jesus, and not our circumstances.
Peace with God.
Peace through Jesus.
Peace from the Holy spirit.
Peace by faith.
disturbances in our surroundings
trouble in society around us
our own thoughts and emotions
troubled personal relationships
All want to lead us into fear, loss, grief, guilt, doubt, shame, and anger. They want to influence us into these emotions and away from peace, that calmness of heart and mind.
One of the things I love about Easter is that it is about Jesus bringing us Peace!
God did not create us to have us living in disturbed states due to fear, worry, anger, or annoyance.
Jesus wants us to have peace
God did not create us to have us living in disturbed states due to fear, worry, anger, or annoyance.
God is a God of peace, and created us to be in his image, to live in peace.
Jesus came as the prince of peace, as foretold in .
Peace in fear
But God wants to give us Peace. Peace in the midst of our circumstances.
Peace in the face of fear.
Peace in pain of loss
Peace in weight of guilt
Peace in the confusion of doubt
Peace with God
Instead of focusing on the circumstances at hand, what we will eat, drink or wear, Jesus tells us to set our focus on him, the One who provides what we need when we need it!
He wants to give us Peace with God our Father.
Peace through Jesus’ defeat of sin and death.
Peace through the Spirit’s work in our hearts.
Peace through faith in Him, who never leaves us nor forsakes us. Peace through Him who is sheltering us in every storm of life.
Peace on Mission
Jesus tells us to trust him. Will you trust him today?
I pray that you will know His peace in the midst of the storm of life you are facing today.
John 14:27 NIV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 20:21 NIV
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
John 20:
When we trust him, when we respond in faith to him, we will know peace, no matter the circumstances.
Jesus gives us:
Peace with God.
Peace through Jesus.
Peace from the Holy spirit.
Peace by faith.
disturbances in our surroundings
trouble in society around us
our own thoughts and emotions
troubled personal relationships
They all want to lead us into fear, loss, grief, guilt, doubt, shame, and anger.
Our circumstances want to influence us into these emotions and away from peace, that calmness of heart and mind.
But God wants to give us Peace. Not peace as the world gives. The world says change the circumstances and you will have peace.
Jesus gives us peace in the midst of our circumstances. Peace in the face of fear.
Peace in pain of loss
Peace in weight of guilt
Peace in the confusion of doubt
He wants to give us
Peace with God our Father.
Peace through Jesus’ defeat of sin and death.
Peace through the Spirit’s work in our hearts.
Peace through faith in Him, who never leaves us nor forsakes us. Peace through Him who is sheltering us in every storm of life.
I pray that you will know His peace in the midst of the storm of life you are facing today.
John 14:27 NIV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 20: NIVAgain Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
NIVPeace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 20:21 NIV
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
NIVAgain Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
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