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, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."
When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
In our meditation ‘Touch Me Not’, we saw that Jesus — after the Resurrection — appearing first of all, to Mary Magdalene. In my experience, and listening to so many stories from strong and faithful believers, it is often the woman who sees Jesus before the man does. Why should that be? It is my view, that Jesus knows the heart of a man (meaning men and women) and knows that the woman hears more readily than the man. I know of some men who would disagree with this, but it is possible that this proves the point.
Jesus now appears to the disciples, the same day at evening. Verse 20 is one that I have returned to many times. Here is what I wrote about it in January 2017 …
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week; that is to say, in the beginning, for the evening and the morning was the first day. Jesus appears in the midst, just as His presence is in the midst of us as we gather today (this same day; now) in His name. And in His presence is peace. He imparts to the disciples, as to us now, His peace. The words are actually peace unto you; 'be' is an insertion by the translator, which I feel moderates the strength of it [the statement]. The ‘peace’ is Jesus Himself; His Presence.
The doors were shut — this is an internal work that Jesus does. He works in our hearts; in our spirit, and from His Spirit. It is His gift to us. He stands in the midst of us and brings peace. We know it; we feel it. He also knows that despite all He has said to us, we live in fear a lot of the time. The disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews means that we often live in fear of man, of what others may do, or try to do to us. Know that when Jesus stands in the midst of us, His presence — when we pray or seek Him, either personally or in the gathering — brings peace.
It does not end there, for He desires to draw us closer into a relationship with Him. Receive the Holy Spirit..
I confess that I found that difficult. Despite the baptism in the Holy Spirit, I felt little or nothing beyond a sense of anticipation, which seemed unfulfilled. I do not know why, but I believe this was because I was trying to make it happen; striving to receive that precious gift. But one day the gift arrived when not sought, and I found myself speaking in tongues and with growing understanding. I made the mistake of thinking that I must do something, that this had to be earned. But Jesus says receive. In other words, ‘open your heart and accept the gift’.
MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did.
But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men,
and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.
HOLY SPIRIT RAIN DOWN — Hillsong
PRAYER requires DISCIPLINE
ALL CHRISTIANS WITH any experience at all have had a vision of some fundamental truth, either about the Atonement or the Holy Spirit or sin, and it is at the peril of their souls that they lose the vision. By prayer and determination we have to form the habit of keeping ourselves soaked in the vision God has given.
The difficulty with the majority of us is that we will not seek to apprehend the vision; we get glimpses of it and then leave it alone. "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision," says Paul.
It is one of the saddest things to see men and women who have had visions of truth but have failed to apprehend them, and it is on this line that judgment comes. It is not a question of intellectual discernment or of knowing how to present the vision to others, but of seeking to apprehend the vision so that it may apprehend us.
[from ‘The Psychology of Sin’ by Oswald Chambers]
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COMING NEXT… #495 DO NOT BE UNBELIEVING
MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS…
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART