John 20:19-20
Great Texts of the Bible
The Saviour’s Easter Greeting

When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had said this, he shewed unto them his hands and his side.—John 20:19-20.

1. It is the evening of the first Easter Day. In an upper chamber in Jerusalem—in all probability in the upper chamber which had been the scene of the institution of the Holy Eucharist, and was to be the scene of the baptism of the Church by the descending Spirit, and then to be the place of the first of Christian assemblies, the mother of all Churches—it is in this upper chamber that we see gathered together a band of men and women. They are in a position of restlessness up to the point of fear. They feel the restlessness of men whose lives are in great danger. The tomb of the Master whom they loved was found empty. The foes of Jesus imagined that this was by the connivance of the disciples themselves. His disciples had come, they said, and stolen the body whilst the guards placed to keep watch over it slept. The disciples accordingly anticipated that that fury of the Jews which had burst with such force upon their Master would now descend upon their heads. But they were not only in this bodily fear. This bodily fear would not have been in them if they had not been restless in mind. They did not know what to believe, they were in perplexity. The tomb of Christ was empty. By a resurrection? They could not believe that. True, their Lord again and again had tried to prepare them for that mystery of His resurrection, but they could not understand it. How then was it empty? Not by any act of their own, they knew very well. And the perplexity was increased in this way—some people said He was risen; some women said they had seen Him. Were these but women’s stories after all? If they were not true, what was true? Was He risen or was He not?

Jesus came, unannounced and unexpected, into the midst of these perplexed disciples. Their very fear drew Him to them. They wanted Him: He knew it, and could not keep away. It was “the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut.” They wanted the old familiar times back again. If He would come and bring them how much more faithful they would be to Him than in the past. But He was gone, and they dare not keep the door ajar, for they had no courage and much fear. And then, lo! He was there, standing in the midst of them, with the old kind smile upon His face, and the calm strong greeting on His lips. “Peace be unto you,” He said, and showed them His hands and His side.

2. This was the greeting He would naturally have given them on any occasion on which He came to them in the days of His earthly life in the body. Those who have lived in Eastern lands seem to hear the Lord’s voice when they read His salutation, the sound of which from the lips of all visitors they know so well. But we must believe that the words “Peace be unto you” had a more than ordinary significance on this occasion. They were intended to convey a real inward comfort, and to produce, in the mind of those who heard them, the assurance that a new and blessed influence had entered into them. In the darkest hour of their earthly companionship, when the deep shadow of approaching separation was resting upon them, the Lord had said “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” Their hearts were too sad at the time to receive any comfort from the saying, sweet and soothing though the sound of the words must even then have seemed. But now, in the very first words He speaks to them after His Resurrection, He fulfils His promise, and proves to them the reality of His own gift. Then, having allayed their terror, He certifies them of His bodily identity by showing them His hands and His side. There was no longer any possibility of doubting the truth of His Resurrection, and feelings of gladness at once dispelled the former doubts and apprehensions.

For those disciples that day had been a very restless one. They had been troubled by what the women said, and by their own many questionings and thoughts. Sin came back on Peter and on others, and the very thing they needed most was that He should stand and say, “Peace be unto you; see my hands and my side.” And do we not realize that very often at the end of the day Christ comes to us, when we are troubled with a sense of sin? And those of us who are trying to live nearest the true Light are most conscious of sin and imperfection. There never was a day we ever lived in which there were not many things that came short of the glory of God, and there is never an evening in which we do not have to say, “Forgive us our debts,” our shortcomings, even if we do not need to say, “Forgive us our trespasses,” our transgressions. There is always the coming short of His glory, even if there is not voluntary transgression of His will. And so there never is a time when we do not need that He should show us His hands and His side, and say, “Beloved, there is the guarantee that your sin is put absolutely away, that there is nothing between God and you but one clear heaven of love.”1 [Note: F. B. Meyer, in The Keswick Week (1900), 132.]

I happened to drop into a house where there was a large family, and I found the mother very busy about the room. “What are you doing?” I asked. “Oh, when the children have gone to bed I have to tidy up after them, and I make straight what they have left amiss.” And there she was, just going over all the broken fragments of the children’s work, and taking up the stitches that her little daughter had put all across the piece of work she had given the child to do. I could see quite well the big cross stitches, and how the mother was taking them up and making them good. I said to myself: Yes, that is just what Christ does. He comes into the day’s life and work, when all the mistakes have been made, and the poor sermons have been preached, and the mis-statements have been uttered, and one looks back with such a sense of infinite regret and failure, and He says: “Peace be unto you. I am going over all the mistakes to put them right, and help to make powerful that which you left impotent and useless.”2 [Note: Ibid.]


The Appearance Behind Closed Doors

“When the doors were shut.”

1. Barriers are often raised unwittingly against Christ. When the disciples shut and locked the doors of the upper chamber, they never meant to bar them against Jesus. They were afraid of the Jews, and acted only in self-defence. And there are lines of conduct in common life we may pursue, and we never dream that we are raising barriers between ourselves and the highest and the best: but in the end of the day for us, as for the disciples, it will be found that we have done more than we imagined—we have closed the door unwittingly on Christ.

It is the tragedy of many a life that its doors are shut. Sometimes it is engrossment in pleasure, in business, in friendship, that bars the door against the ingress of the Saviour. All these things, lawful in themselves, and having indeed a right and necessary place in any life, may gain such an ascendancy as to become its masters, demanding all thought, all energy, all strength of life, until the man over whom they have gained control is himself behind closed doors. Sometimes it is by selfishness of joy or sorrow that the doors are closed. There is a joy which is regarded as incommunicable, or a sorrow which is regarded as unshareable, and He who is the Author of each is excluded from life by His own providences misreceived and misinterpreted. Often, too, it is with us as with these His earliest disciples, fear of the consequences of identification with Him causes the door to be tightly barred. We are afraid of the disfavour of men, and in shutting out the Jews we really shut out Jesus. But chiefly it is sin that excludes the Son of God from the life in which He seeks to be known and served. And this, too, may be of unintentional beginning. For sin at its commencement is often merely thoughtlessness. Persisted in, however, despite the correcting light which God is unceasingly shedding upon us, it becomes actually wilful—the rebellious barring of the door against the Son of God.

Every morning that we rise, every day that we go forth, our choices make us or our choices mar us. Some day a choice more momentous than usual comes. We are face to face with one of life’s great decisions. And we have not been living on high levels, and so we choose amiss, for a man’s whole life is in every choice he makes. Then the days pass, and the issues show themselves, and the choice works itself out in life and character, and a hundred glorious things are tarnished and are tainted as the result of one disastrous choice. We never meant to shut out power and purity, but they have receded into the dim distance ever since. We never thought to grow heart-weary and world-weary, but that may follow from one mismanaged choosing. Like the disciples, beset by some poor fear, unwittingly we have closed the door on Christ.1 [Note: G. H. Morrison, The Unlighted Lustre, 115.]

And Life with full hands came,

Austerely smiling.

I looked, marvelling at her gifts—

Fortune, much love, many beauties,

The deed fulfilled man ponders in his youth,

Gold of the heart, desire of the eyes come true!

And joyously

“With these,” I said “with these, indeed,

What spirit could miss delight?”

And paused to dream them over.

But even then

“Choose,” she said.

“One gift is yours—no more,”

And bent that grave, wise smile

Upon me, waiting.2 [Note: M. M‘Neal-Sweeney, Men of No Land, 107.]

2. He came; they knew not how; they knew only that the chamber was strongly secured against intrusion or surprise. No bolt was withdrawn; no door was opened; no breach was made in the wall of their place of assembly; there was no visible movement as from without to within, or from point to point. One moment they were, as they thought, alone; and the next, they looked, and lo! an outline, a form, a visible body and face, a solid human frame was before them, as if created out of the atmosphere which they breathed. “Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” They gazed at Him; they gazed at each other in bewilderment and terror. They supposed that they had seen a “spirit”; they were with difficulty reassured—so St. Luke’s report seems to imply—by the means which our Lord took to convince them that a body of flesh and bones was before them. At last they were glad when they saw the Lord.

Christ is inevitable, unavoidable; you cannot stop or stay Him. That is the first great lesson of the Resurrection. No one can follow the story of His life, without feeling that Christ is inevitable. It is the key to the whole record. We are swept into a movement which we realize is irresistible, and the secret of its power is the irresistible Christ. We feel this not merely because Christ exercised an extraordinary influence and became the centre of a unique attraction, but because of what He was. His words and His works alike are significant first and chiefly of what He is in Himself; they are the revelation of a Person who more and more completely wins our absolute trust. When the Cross comes into view, crowning the path up which He is moving, we follow Him, knowing that, though it seems to be inexplicable, it comes within His purpose of redemption, and He fully understands it, however blind we may be to what it means. “I lay down my life for the sheep. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” It is all a complete unity, the one perfect whole in a world of fragments. And when we hear the “It is finished” ring out through the gloom of His death-hour, we are ready for the glory which will soon be breaking from the opened grave. And as at last we see Him coming to the disciples on Easter evening, though the doors are shut against Him, we know that always and everywhere He is and must be resistless. Always and everywhere He is the inevitable Christ.

For weal or woe, whatever walls you raise, Christ passes through them all and gets to you. There are deeds that we did long since, perhaps twenty years ago, but to this hour unexpectedly they rise and meet us. There were moments of exquisite happiness in our past, and even to-day their memory is like music. You cannot shut out the thought of intense hours: no change of years will prevent them winning through. And like the ineffaceable memory of such scenes is the presence and the beauty of the Lord. Christ is inevitable. Christ is unavoidable. Sometimes He comes through the closed door, just because all life is penetrated with Him. We talk of the Christian atmosphere we breathe, but the atmosphere is more than Christian, it is Christ. This is the Lord’s day—who then is this Lord? We may have closed the door on Him, but He is here. We cannot date one letter in the morning, but we mean that more than one thousand nine hundred years ago Christ was born. He meets us at every turn of the road, in every newspaper and in every problem. Our life is so interpenetrated with Christ Jesus that to avoid Him is an impossibility.1 [Note: G. H. Morrison, The Unlighted Lustre, 119.]

Men who lived and fought for Napoleon have told the world how they gradually came to believe him to be resistless. He had only to appear before His troops on his white charger, and down the lines of French bayonets flashed an electric confidence which made them mighty, as soldiers had seldom been mighty before, and enabled them to carry all before them. So with “the Captain of our salvation.” In the New Testament Christ goes forth “conquering and to conquer,” and He intends His Church to live in the power of that inspiration. It is nothing to Him that doors are shut, and men are weak and helpless. You may as well try to stifle the springtide or struggle to fetter the feet of the summer morning as strive to bar out the coming of Jesus risen. You will draw a curtain over the dawn and shut down the sunrise behind the darkness before you will banish the inevitable Christ.1 [Note: F. B. Macnutt, The Inevitable Christ, 8.]

Francis Thompson has told with marvellous beauty of imagery and breadth of expression the story of the pursuit of the soul through all its manifold experience by “the Hound of Heaven,” which will not let it escape Him.

I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;

I fled Him, down the arches of the years;

I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways

Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears

I hid from Him, and under running laughter,

From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

But with unhurrying chase

And unperturbèd pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,

They beat and a Voice beat

More instant than the feet …

“Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me.”

So the foolish soul perseveres in flight from its Saviour, and on and on after it come those persistent feet which will not be denied. It tries to hide in strange and distant places; it rings itself in with forbidden pleasures; it lavishes its love upon tender and beautiful human affections, and still

Fear wist not to evade as love wist to pursue—

till at last the chase is ended, and the Voice is “round him like a bursting sea.”

Halts by me that footfall:

Is my gloom, after all,

Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?

Ah! fondest, blindest, weakest,

I am He whom thou seekest!

Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.

3. But while Christ forces Himself thus upon our attention He never compels our submission. It is always a matter of choice and will with us as to the reception He receives when He appears. For when once He has secured our ear and engaged our thought He subjects Himself to our will. The crowning pathos and tragedy of life is to close the door more closely when we have been made aware of His Presence. Its crowning glory is to open it wide that the King of Glory may come in.

A Sunday spent at Cambridge in order to preach before the University came to Creighton as a welcome break. He chose as the subject of his sermon “Liberty.” Some years before at breakfast at Lambeth Palace, he had propounded the question what was the most important object of pursuit, and had maintained amidst the friendly and animated contradiction which never failed in that circle, that liberty was the most precious possession of man. This conviction only deepened as the years passed. But he felt also increasingly the tremendous responsibility of liberty, and said that, instead of snatching at it as a prize, it would be more true to speak of the burden of liberty. In this sermon at Cambridge he said: “If we try to grasp the meaning of progress as it is shown in the history of the past, it is to be found only in the growing recognition of the dignity of man, which is another form of expressing human freedom, and is the ground of its calm.”1 [Note: Life and Letters of Mandell Creighton, ii. 320.]


The Message of Peace

“Peace be unto you.”

This invocation of peace, at beginning or ending of intercourse, was already ancient. In our Lord’s day it had become just as much part of the social habits of the people as the custom of saying “Good-morning” is among ourselves. All the Semitic peoples, the Syrians, the Arabians, and, as we know from the Talmud, the Jews of the Dispersion, used it as a matter of course. In earlier days, no doubt, men had invoked peace from heaven with the utmost deliberation and seriousness. In the age of the kings and prophets the phrase had still a living meaning: the speaker actually prayed for the blessing of peace on the person whom he addressed. It is a gradual process by which the real fresh language of primitive times is stiffened into the unmeaning forms of the society of a later age; but as far as this expression is concerned, the process was already complete in our Lord’s day. And yet He did not scruple to avail Himself of the conventional phrase.

But this was not merely the familiar greeting of friend to friend—though it was that—in that strange moment when two worlds met. Nor was it merely a kindly word—though it was that, too—to pacify their terror, as this apparition from another world stood silently and suddenly before them. It was a word of larger, more majestic scope. Spoken to men who had met in fear, and who looked forward to troubled days, it had a wonderful power to soothe, coming from the lips of the Lord, fresh from His victory over death. “The disciples, therefore, were glad when they saw the Lord,” glad with a great gladness which we cannot know till we have fathomed the depths of their sorrow and despair as they saw Jesus taken from His cross and laid in Joseph’s tomb. Jesus is strangely earnest about this peace. Those worn, hunted men need it; and He will not leave them till He has made them sure of it. “Jesus therefore said to them again, Peace be unto you.”

A great soul can redeem his words from triviality. He takes the most conventional expressions, the small change of ordinary courtesy, which on the lips of other men mean nothing, and in his mouth they have such heart and substance that you go on cheered and bettered by his greeting. “Peace” is one of the anointed words which hold rank in human speech by native dignity, but in Palestine it had been degraded to the level of a customary civility, with which the most indifferent acquaintances met and parted. And Jesus takes the word, humbled and impoverished, and makes such use of it that it is no longer trivial but has the force of a command for their hearts.1 [Note: W. M. Macgregor, Jesus Christ the Son of God, 165.]

Professor Johnston Ross relates that he once visited a furniture-dealer’s shop in West London. The man was a Jew, and, noticing that his visitor wore clerical dress, he began to talk on religious matters. After an interesting conversation the Professor mounted his bicycle, saying, “Good-bye,” when the dealer called out in Hebrew, “Peace be unto you”—using the plural form. The Professor’s curiosity was aroused, and he asked: “Why do you put it so? Is there another that you wish peace to?” “Yes,” replied the Jew, “Peace be to you and to the angel over your shoulder.”

1. The first gift that Jesus had for them was a high confidence in their cause. Without that a Christian life cannot well be lived. He does not mean that we should live by sufferance, creeping timidly under the shadow of men’s example; we are to have eyes and a conscience to know the truth, and courage to maintain it. The Christian Church has been built up by the fidelities of true men, and it gains no strength from those who have not courage to be faithful. These will come in thousands when the fashion once is set, but they bring nothing with them. They, certainly, can never be described as the city set on a hill which cannot be hid. Jesus Christ is the Lord of all the brave, and His gift is the high heart which sees its course and does not reckon odds.

Peden, the Covenanter, speaks for all right Christians when he says, “For my part, I seek no more, if He bids me go.” And in one of his sermons the refrain is this: “They sought no more than His commandment; they went and He carried them well through.”1 [Note: W. M. Macgregor, Jesus Christ the Son of God, 173.]

2. But the deepest hurt in the life of a man is not the ill his neighbour threatens; there is a controversy behind that, a war in his own conscience, a sense that his own life is wrong, and that God and he are somehow not at one. And “Christ preached peace.” He brought forgiveness to men, the assurance of God’s forgetfulness. To the most faulty He declared the goodwill of God, assuring them of a place in His heart from which all their sin and folly have not banished them. There are powers in God to part us from our sin, so that it can never rise against us any more; and these powers are centred in the Cross of Christ, in which right was done to justice by Him who came to rescue men from what they had deserved.

Christian peace, the peace which Christ gives, the peace which He sheds abroad in the heart, is it aught else than a glorified harmony; the expelling from man’s life of all that was causing disturbance there, all that was hindering him from chiming in with the music of heaven, in which now shall mingle for ever the consenting songs of redeemed men and elect angels?1 [Note: Archbishop Trench, in The Literary Churchman (1892), 167.]

I couldn’t live in peace if I put the shadow of a wilful sin between myself and God.2 [Note: Maggie Tulliver, in The Mill on the Floss.]

The realization of our peace with God, which constitutes or causes peace with ourselves, presupposes the reality of that peace with God; it does not create it. The fact must precede the knowledge of the fact, it cannot result from it. The ear does not discourse sweet music, or the eye produce a pleasant picture; in each case the organ of sense embraces an already existing reality. The rule holds good in the spiritual creation. That perfect harmony of will and reason and religious emotion which we denominate peace of conscience is not the cause of the sinner’s reconciliation with an offended God, neither is it identical with it; it is the result.and product of an actual reconciliation. For the condition of our own minds is as it were the shadow and reflection of the relation in which we stand to God. So long as we are at enmity with Him, so long as we feel ourselves to be exposed to His most righteous indignation, there is strife and war and tumult in our hearts. Only out of peace with God, and the conscious realization of that peace, can flow quiet of heart and peace of conscience.3 [Note: W. B. Jones, The Peace of God, 360.]

Perhaps no Christian, since the days of the Apostles, has illustrated the true peace of the soul, which Jesus Christ gives, so fully as the great St. Augustine. Read his “Confessions.” What a restless life his was before his conversion. His intellect was tossed on the waves of speculation, and he could grasp no reassuring truth. His heart was distracted by the ideals of false philosophy and sensuality in its various Protean forms. His conscience was profoundly stirred by conviction of sin; he was hurried along by a very tempest of passions, and there was no peace.

Then came his conversion. Jesus “rose in the soul.” There was a change, which brought peace. Tolle, lege, “Take it up and read,” were the words he heard in his agony; and he took up the scroll and read, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness”; and those words of St. Paul fell on the ear of his soul, and there was peace. His intellect surveys the vast realms of revelation and nature, and sees Christ—the Divine Logos—everywhere. His heart turns its undisturbed and enraptured gaze on the Eternal Beauty—all ancient and all young. His will is redirected, the problem of duty is simplified, and he does it with all his heart. His conscience is calmed, for there is no longer any sense of feud between himself and holiness of life. All is pardoned through the cleansing Blood. All becomes possible through the grace of the Redeemer, and Augustine became the greatest saint the Catholic Church has produced since the time of the great Apostle himself.1 [Note: M. Fuller, In Terrâ Pax, 79.]

3. How did the peace of God, passing understanding, come to them that night? By the manifested presence of Him who first said, “Peace be unto you,” and then showed them His hands and His side. He came as His own supreme Evangelist, in His own utterance of “peace.” He let them see Him as His own supreme Evangel, in His finished sacrifice and that glorious sequel of it, His living Presence. So it is for ever. There is no substitute, nor ever can be, for personal relations with Christ, crucified and risen. Would we taste a “peace” which is indeed “of God”? It must be “through our Lord Jesus Christ,” as not a principle only but a Person. Faith must see His wounds; faith must hear His benediction, nothing between, resting direct on Him. Only so will our life have banished out of it the bewilderment, the misgiving, which lie at the troubled heart of half-religion.

Wilt Thou not visit me?

The plant beside me feels Thy gentle dew;

And every blade of grass I see,

From Thy deep earth its quickening moisture drew.

Wilt Thou not visit me?

Thy morning calls on me with cheering tone;

And every hill and tree

Lend but one voice, the voice of Thee alone.

Come, for I need Thy love,

More than the flower the dew, or grass the rain

Come, gently as Thy holy Dove;

And let me in Thy sight rejoice to live again.

I will not hide from them

When Thy storms come, though fierce may be their wrath

But bow with leafy stem,

And strengthened follow on Thy chosen path.

Yes, Thou wilt visit me,

Nor plant nor tree Thine eye delights so well,

As when, from sin set free,

My spirit loves with Thine in peace to dwell.1 [Note: Jones Very.]


The Confirmation of the Message

“He shewed unto them his hands and his side.”

Our Lord first convinced them of His identity. The deep shadows of evening were around them; a solitary lamp, perhaps, cast a glimmer of light through the large upper room, and made the darkness visible, while they were standing in a group and eagerly discussing the news of the Eesurrection, which, first Mary Magdalene, then Peter, then the two disciples from Emmaus, had in turn brought in. And casually some one glanced aside into the darkened room, where all was vacancy; and surely the air was not seen to move—but it did move—and he looked again, and it moved again, and now a dim outline was seen. The disciple held his breath, and touched his neighbour and whispered. And they looked again, and the shadow had grown in distinctness, and others saw the shape. At length it was plainly visible to all, and it stood out in the very midst in the full proportions of a man, although a moment before they could neither see, nor feel, nor hear any one besides themselves. Well might they be filled with fear, and think that they had seen a spirit. Great need had they of hearing those soothing words, “Peace be unto you!”

And now, to show them not only that it was a true material organism, but the very body that had been crucified, He showed the ghastly gashes made in the crucifixion. Luke says, “He shewed them his hands and his feet”: those hands and feet that had always been about His Father’s business; hands that had waved away the powers of darkness; hands that had been placed on the heads of little children; hands that had broken the bread of miracle; feet that had walked the stormy waters; feet that had carried Him to the weeping sisters, and the tomb of Lazarus; feet that had climbed the mountain stair into the midnight holy of holies, where He prayed; feet that had hastened to the side of the wretched, had stood near the most forlorn; feet that took Him down to Gethsemane, and failed Him there under the load of our sorrow; feet that with weak, fainting, yet resolute steps, came out of Jerusalem, while the hands assayed to hold upon His shoulder the cruel cross—the hands and the feet that were nailed to that cross.

One time when David Livingstone was engaged in his civilizing work in Africa, he was attacked by a huge lion of the jungle. The ferocious beast grasped the hand of the missionary in his powerful jaws, and broke the bone. Livingstone was rescued by two friends who had accompanied him, but for a long time he was obliged to keep his arm in a sling. He carried the scar of the wound all his days, and when the faithful natives brought back his dead body to his native land, this scar on the arm once broken was one of the means by which the remains of the great missionary were identified by his friends.

1. He confirmed His former word of peace.—“My peace I give unto you.” He had said, and the word lived in their ears like deep irony. And now, when they sat in gloomy silence, with their sorrow, and their peril, and thoughts of the empty future making peace impossible, He comes again with His former word. It was a time when the common greeting might well have sounded like a wrong; peace—when there is no peace and cannot be! But Jesus Christ, whose words are living, calls them back from all such petulance. In its fullest latitude He meant His word, and thus made trial of their faith; for peace was there, indeed, within their reach, if only they had courage to lay hands upon it. And in our disquiet the Lord speaks to us in the same way, and we shall gain or miss the help of His presence according as we deal with the promise of His word.

2. He showed them the proofs of His victory.—His appearance was more significant than any word He spoke. He appeared to those men time after time in order that, when He had withdrawn from their sight, they might know the truth, the reality concerning Him, and know it for ever; that all doubt, all hesitation, might be gone from their minds. He showed Himself to them that they might have His image in their hearts, and send on that image into our hearts through all the ages. Just as on earth in the days of His mortality He revealed Himself, so now in the days of His resurrection power He does but reveal Himself. Is there a halo? There is none. Are there the robes of royalty? They are not mentioned. Is His advent into the room heralded by the acclaim of the archangels? No. But we are told in both records—it is the very central point of the narrative—that He showed them His hands and His feet. We are told that on the next Sabbath He saw Thomas, and He said, “See my hands; see my side.” The marks of the suffering were upon Him. His body was changed strangely. It was raised to a condition of existence entirely different from the old condition; but there was something that was not changed. “When you think how much was changed, that which was not changed is all the more significant. Instead of the halo there were the wound-prints, and it was those wound-prints that won for Him the name “My Lord and my God.”

Our Lord bought peace with His Passion. It is to the Passion that He ascribes the Peace. He comes back with the signature of that treaty of peace written in His hands and side. There did not seem to be much peace in the Passion, rather it was the breaking of the storm. The old man in the Temple looked across the sky of the Child-life to where the clouds were gathering for Him and His Mother; and on the Cross the storm broke. But the vessel, lost to sight in the storm, again appears, though with rigging torn and battered hull, creeping back to port with the dignity of a struggle that has found the goal.1 [Note: F. E. Ridgeway, Calls to Service, 219.]

The Saviour’s Easter Greeting


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Smith (D.), Christian Counsel, 54.

Stone (D.), The Discipline of Faith, 107.

Telford (J.), The Story of the Upper Room, 245.

Thomas (J.), The Mysteries of Grace, 89.

Wilkinson (G. H.), Some Laws in God’s Spiritual Kingdom, 281.

Keswick Week, 1900, p. 131 (Meyer); 1905, p. 95 (Pierson).

The Great Texts of the Bible - James Hastings

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John 18:37-38
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