Week of April 20, 2007

They Saw Jesus
by Max Lucado

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews
John 20:19

Picture the scene. Peter, John, James. They came back. Banking on some zany possibility that the well of forgiveness still had a few drops, they came back. Daring to dream that the master had left them some word, some plan, some direction, they came back.

But little did they know their wildest dream wasn’t wild enough. Just as someone mumbles, “It’s no use,” they hear a noise. They hear a voice.

“Peace be with you.” (John 20:19)

Every head lifted. Every eye turned. Every mouth dropped open. Someone looked at the door.

It was still locked.

It was a moment the apostles would never forget, a story they would never cease to tell. The stone of the tomb was not enough to keep him in. The walls of the room were not enough to keep him out.

The one betrayed sought his betrayers. What did he say to them? Not “What a bunch of flops!” Not “I told you so.” No “Where-were-you-when-I-needed-you?” speeches. But simply one phrase, “Peace be with you.” The very thing they didn’t have was the very thing he offered: peace.

It was too good to be true! So amazing was the appearance that some were saying, “Pinch me, I’m dreaming” even at the ascension. No wonder they returned to Jerusalem with great joy! No wonder they were always in the temple praising God!

Six Hours One FridayA transformed group stood beside a transformed Peter as he announced some weeks later: “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:56)

No timidity in his words. No reluctance. About three thousand people believed his message.

The apostles sparked a movement. The people became followers of the death-conqueror. They couldn’t hear enough or say enough about him. People began to call them “Christ-ians.” Christ was their model, their message. They preached “Jesus Christ and him crucified,” not for the lack of another topic, but because they couldn’t exhaust this one.

What unlocked the doors of the apostles’ hearts?

Simple. They saw Jesus. They encountered the Christ. Their sins collided with their Savior and their Savior won! What lit the boiler of the apostles was a red-hot conviction that the very one who should have sent them to hell, went to hell for them and came back to tell about it.

From Six Hours One Friday
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 1989) Max Lucado