3/8/14 The Upper Room

Saturday, March 8, 2014


John 20:19-21

Morning Meditation 3/8/2014

Verses 19-21 “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. 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. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”

I can’t keep from feeling sympathy for this group of disciples, who were as committed as they knew how, to serve their Lord and Master for He had been violently taken from them. There was a lot that Jesus taught them about His death and resurrection that they just didn’t get. Their lack of understanding is not to be attributed to the lack of commitment. They were committed. They had quit their jobs and hit the dusty trail with Jesus and had lived with Him night and day for three to three and one-half years. It cannot be attributed to ignorance. These were not dumb men. But we do have a clue in that Jesus had to deal with them over and over again with the words “O ye of little faith.” Now this was not the unbelief of the unsaved. It is the unbelief of sincere committed men. Jesus said things to them that just did not harmonize with what they had been led to believe all their lives. They WERE NOT looking for a SUFFERING messiah. So when He taught them that He must die and be raised the third day, it shot in one ear and out the other at the speed of light!

Now let me give you a verse and you tell me if Jesus had prepared them for His death and resurrection: “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day” (Mt 16:21). Do you think this is plain enough for you to understand, if you had been one of His disciples in that day? I have to admit that I do not understand why they did not understand. Jesus taught so plainly. But when I realize that, I am saying that I would not have been that dumb, it puts it in a different light. I am not worthy to tie the shoes of one of those men of God. And I’m certainly not more intelligent! There are two things I think we can agree on. First, they did not want to hear this and second, their understanding of the Messiah from the Old Testament Scripture did not harmonize with the death and resurrection. I did not say the Old Testament did not harmonize. I said THEIR UNDERSTANDING of what the Old Testament taught of the coming Messiah was in major conflict with what He was teaching. There is a good lesson for us here. One of the major problems in our understanding of the Scripture is that we bring our preconceived ideas with us to the Word and read them into the text. We say, “This is what is taught between the lines.” Well, we better stay with the lines!

These were the men who were in that upper room. They were confused. They were not expecting Christ to be resurrected at this time. When he appeared in the room they were terrified (Luke 24:37) and thought that He was a spirit. There is a reason for this. Verse 19 says “the doors were shut . . . for fear of the Jews.” John Gill says, “the doors were shut; which is not merely expressive of the time of night, when this was usually done; but signifies that they were really locked and bolted, and barred.” The word “terrified” is from a word that means to “fly.” I have been frightened a few times when my feet had a mind of their own! I will tell you this. I have never been caught when I was running for this reason! It is an aorist tense verb form which means they were seized with fear.

Here they are locked in a room and Jesus appears. It sounds like science fiction. At least they can produce effects that make you think someone has appeared out of nowhere. Well, Jesus did it in real life. This was a miracle. No wonder they thought they were seeing a spirit.

First, He appeared and then He spoke. He said, “Peace be unto you.” The word “peace” means “a state of tranquility.” They were terrified and Jesus with His Word urges them to tranquility. He said “peace be still” to the waves of the sea and they obeyed Him. The disciples were not as obedient as the waves of the sea. I can hear one of them say, “I hear what He is saying with my head. Now if I can just get my feet to cooperate!” Jesus is the one who brings peace. It is not inconsistent with the Christian life for fear to grip our hearts. Jesus ministers to us many times when we are in that condition. He says, “Peace be unto you.” Have you ever had Him come to you when you were in this condition and say “Peace be unto you?” I have. I have had him calm me so much that I could not believe what had happened.

Then “He showed unto them his hands and his side.” He had to remove their doubt. If you have doubts, Jesus will remove them if you will let Him. Not all doubted but some did. There are always some of the Lord’s genuine disciples that have problems with doubt. How did Jesus remove the doubts. He showed them his hands and his side. The prints of the nails were there. The side that had been pierced with the sword was evidence that it was really He. It was not someone else disguised as Jesus. He was willing to show them and let them feel Him. Then Luke tells us that He ate to prove that they were not seeing a spirit.

Then Luke says, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45). When they finally began to see the light, it was the result of Divine illumination. This is what we need today. There needs to be a combination of study and prayer for illumination when we study the Scripture. The obvious is not necessarily obvious until He opens our understanding.

Next our text says, “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” When they realized that what was happening was reality, they were free to be glad. Peter said, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1:8). We are also dealing with reality when we worship and serve Him today. Paul says that we do not know Jesus after the flesh any more but the reality of His presence is no less real.

Then Jesus commissions them: “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.” Jesus told Zacchaeus, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). I am saved today because these men who were frightened out of their wits and cowering behind a locked door, responded positively and obediently to Jesus and went out preaching the gospel to the whole world. Jesus is still saying to His Church, “As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”

Then finally our text says in verse 22, “And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” Some argue about where the disciples received the Holy Spirit. Some say on Pentecost and some say here. Lets quit arguing about where and start operating in His power instead of our own. It is kind of like the disciples in John chapter nine where they were confronted with a man who had been born blind. The disciples asked, “Master who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). This was a dumb question to start with. How could this man be BORN BLIND BECAUSE HE SINNED?” I think Jesus must have said, “Wait a minute. Let’s get his eyes opened first!” And He healed the man. You know if God has saved you by His grace that settles a lot of questions. Someone says, “It takes baptism to be saved.” Tell that to the thief on the cross. I think he would say, “Do you mean I am in heaven and I am not supposed to be here?”

May the Lord bless everyone of you.

In Christ

Bro. White

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