Tuesday, July 9, 2024

The Peace that Drives Out Fear

“Peace be with you.” – John 20:19

As ten of Jesus’ 12 disciples gathered in a locked room on Easter evening, they were filled with fear. Only one of them, Peter, had seen the resurrected Jesus, and only John believed Peter’s story. The other eight still didn’t believe Jesus was really alive.

But ALL of the disciples were scared. They were huddled behind a locked door because they were afraid that the Jewish leaders who tortured and killed Jesus would come after them next. And, of course, Jesus knew they were afraid. So, when He appeared to them in the room, His first words to them were: “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).

 And how did the disciples react to seeing Jesus in the room—which he apparently entered without using the door? John doesn’t record their initial reaction, but Luke tells us that “they were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost” (Luke 24:37). Even after Jesus showed His disciples the wounds in His hands and feet, they still had doubts. Finally, Jesus convinced them, by eating a piece of broiled fish, that He was truly there in the flesh. And at last, John tells us, “The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20).

 In a few short minutes, the disciples’ fear was replaced by peace, and their doubts were dispelled by evidence-based faith. In verse 21, Jesus reiterated His offer of peace. Then He added: “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.” That night, more than ever before, the disciples were transformed into apostles. Jesus’ followers become leaders; His evangelized become evangelists; and His students become teachers. The ones who left their small corner of the world to come TO Jesus would now be sent into a bigger corner of the world to be missionaries FOR Jesus.

From this exciting passage, we can draw these life lessons:

Lesson #1: Jesus is ready to replace your fear with His peace and joy. In 1 John 4:8, John tells us that “God is love.” And 10 verses later he tells us, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). Put those two truths together: Jesus Christ is love, and He drives out our fear. So, if you and I are living in fear, we are not as full of Jesus as we should be. I encourage you to lay your fears at the feet of Jesus.

Lesson #2: Jesus is in the sending business, and He has sent you to be His missionary in your corner of the world. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you are a Christian. But you may not realize that you are a “sent” Christian. You have been chosen by Christ, and you have been sent by Christ. So, start talking like you’ve been sent by Jesus. Start behaving like you’ve been sent by Jesus. And start loving the people around you and sharing the Gospel with them like you’ve been sent by Jesus. Christ has called you to live sent.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church, meeting Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley.

Monday, July 1, 2024

Is Seeing Believing?

“Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.”
– John 20:8

It was a Sunday morning unlike any other in history.

When Mary Magdalene told Peter and John that Jesus’ grave was empty, they wasted no time strapping on their sandals and bolting down the street toward the garden tomb.

Once John got there, he bent over and peeked inside the small entrance to the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying on the shelf where Jesus’ body had been placed. Then Peter caught up and rushed right into the tomb to examine the bandages and burial clothing that had covered Jesus. At last, in John 20:8, “the other disciple [John] … also went inside. He saw and believed.” John appears to have been the first follower of Jesus to see the evidence of His resurrection and believe that He was and is alive.

The rest, as they say, is history. Here are three important insights we can glean from these important moments:

Insight #1: “The empty cross and the empty tomb are God’s ‘receipts’ telling us that the debt has been paid” (Warren Wiersbe). Why is the empty cross one of the greatest symbols of Christianity? Because Jesus isn’t hanging there anymore! He’s completed the work of redemption. The debt of sin is paid … once and for all. The empty tomb proves that Jesus not only conquered sin; He also conquered death.

Insight #2: “The whole point of the description is that the grave clothes did not look as if they had been put off or taken off; they were lying there in their regular folds as if the body of Jesus had simply evaporated out of them” (William Barclay). Have you ever heard of a burglar breaking into a house, stealing some jewelry … then washing the dishes before he leaves? No! Then why would anyone in their right mind think that a grave robber would take the time to make Jesus’ grave clothes nice and tidy in the tomb before disappearing into the dark with His body? There’s no doubt: Jesus’ resurrected body passed right through the grave clothes.

Insight #3: “John entered the tomb, at which point he perceived with understanding and believed” (Chuck Swindoll). In verse 5, John looked through the open door of the tomb and was able to “see” the strips of linen. In verse 6, after Peter went into the tomb, he was able to “see” the grave clothes in the sense of investigating them. But then in verse 8, after John entered the tomb, he was able to “see” with the eyes of understanding … and “believe” that Jesus was and IS alive!

So, let me ask you: How is your eyesight today? It’s not enough to just see Jesus. You must believe in Jesus. As we read in Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church, meeting Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. at 16209 Kamana Road in Apple Valley.