Many in the Church today live as if they’ve accepted defeat. Their thoughts are ruled by doubt rather than belief and they live with habitual patterns of sin. They keep their faith to themselves, thinking that if they struggle so badly, how could they possibly help someone else? This is what the Christian life looks like without resurrection power.
Actually, that’s what the disciples’ lives looked like after the crucifixion. So what was the first thing Jesus did after the resurrection? He dealt with His followers’ fear: “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’” (John 20:19).
The disciples had literally locked themselves in, afraid of the world outside. They feared mockery, derision, persecution, even the possibility of a death such as the one Jesus experienced. But Christ came straight through those walls to meet them in their fear and His first words to them were, “I give you peace.” Even then they were still afraid, so Jesus had to say it to them twice: “Peace be with you” (see 20:19, 21). Christ didn’t berate or judge them for their fear; instead, He met them at their deepest point of need.
The same thing happened about a week later. Again the disciples had locked themselves away in fear, and once more Jesus entered bringing peace: “Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you’” (20:26).
Sometimes Jesus has to say things to us more than once. Even so, He didn’t judge the disciples for their fear; instead, He showed them all patience. Earlier that week Thomas had expressed disbelief, but now Jesus invited him to examine His scars to remove any doubts. “Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (20:28).
Here in Thomas’s response we see Christ’s remedy for our fears: believe! Jesus proclaims this to His Church, and His Church proclaims it every week to all who enter its doors: “Peace be with you. Don’t be afraid. Believe on Him.”