Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week…
1. The day mentioned is the day in commemoration of which every Sabbath now is kept. There is no difference between the Jewish and the Christian Sabbath, except the difference there is in the landscape when the sun is on it and when the sun is off it.
2. We progress in the actings of faith very slowly. Were faith in lively exercise you would see in the midst of this house a glory brighter than ten thousand thousand "mountains of light," with the beams of the meridian sun falling on them. You would see in the midst Jesus; for "where two or three," &c.
I. THE SALUTATION — "Peace!" Of all the words that fall on man's ear, none is more delectable.
1. At the sound, perhaps —
(1) We think of our infancy, ere the passions of the heart uncoiled themselves, or the cares and turmoil of life were encountered.
(2) Or of some happy individual hose mind is graced with all scholarship, charmed with all sensibility, cultivated and wrought up to the mastery of the passions, and the education of the faculties, whose mind seems like a piece of music in tune.
(3) Or of some happy family, in which there is such a consentaneousness of thinking and harmoniousness of feeling, such a rippling of kindliness, such a flowing of tenderness that though there are several individuals in the family, it really seems as though they were but one heart beating in the house.
(4) Or of some happy land over which the waves of anarchy never rolled, in which the plaints of discord were never heard; where peace and contentment universally prevail; where "every man sits under his own vine and his own fig-tree, having none to make him afraid."(5) Or of a scene inclusive of and transcending all this, even of the garden of Eden itself.
2. But Christ used it in a more sacred sense than any of these. It signifies peace after a war, calm after a storm, tranquility after confusion. In nature, before the storm comes there is generally a very emphatic calm. When the sea is going to be searched through and through, there comes on the deep hush. And now big come the rain drops, now loud comes the wind, now fierce drives the tempest, and before it everything that is rotten gives way directly. Such a time will overtake us all. The peace of the worldling drifts away at once. If the worldling admit that he had any, it is generally found to consist in some reflection to this effect, that on the whole the world has gone tolerably smoothly with him, and he hopes it will continue to do so. But that is not a peace that will live in the storm. Bat the peace which Christ gives is profound and abiding. When the storm comes down on the water, we, perhaps, suppose that the storm has ploughed the ocean up to its depths. Not so! Down a few yards at most is the body of water lying in a state of perfect repose, as when God first gathered the waters into the sea. Such is the peace which Christ gives. The storm does not destroy it. It is deep, abiding peace.
3. Not indeed that "peace" can be found in outward things. Take away from the believer in Christ that to which worldly men may look for satisfaction, wealth, station, power, friends, health, and you have not come down to where his peace lies. Certainly, if these outward things could ever have yielded peace, they would have yielded it to Solomon. With astonishing energy and perseverance he worked the problem through; and when he had exhausted his experiments, he summed up the result — "Vanity of vanities; all is vanity!" And yet very few men are willing to take that lesson from Solomon.
II. THE ACT WITH WHICH THE SAVIOUR ACCOMPANIED HIS SALUTATION. He did something. Actions are more powerful than words.
1. He showed them His hands as much as to say, If these hands had never have been pierced, these lips would not have pronounced, "Peace be unto you." The chastisement of your peace has been laid on Me; "by My stripes ye are healed." He showed His side, so that we might say, "Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee!"
2. The showing of the hands and the side of Christ is the only symbolical movement that now remains. All types which intimated beforehand the glories of our redemption by the death of Christ are gone but this. So now, the whole of your behaviour in relation to Christ just resolves itself into this — touching the hands and side of Christ. Believing in Christ and touching Him are the same thing.
3. Then observe the point of difference there is between the actions of men and this action of our Lord in showing His hands and His side. You can never depend on the action of man — he is mutable. But Christ "is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." He is always showing His hands and His feet in heaven to signify that He is always doing so on earth to faith. Cannot you touch His hands and His side? "Oh!" you say, "it takes such a great effort." Cannot you make a great effort? I know I can. Let your temporal affairs all get into some great extremity, and I know what you are capable of. Suppose you were drowning — some one throws a rope to you — what kind of movement do you make? All I want from you in relation to Christ is a similar effort on the part of the mind which the body takes towards the rope. Conclusion: To those who have this peace, I must speak to them in the language —
1. Of congratulation.
2. Of exhortation; for Christ hath said, "As my Father hath sent Me, so send I you." You are chartered for usefulness. Is there ignorance in the world — remove it. Is there delusion — dissolve it. Is there infidelity — go and supply the elements of faith. Is there immorality — go and check it. Is there misery — wipe its tears, terminate its sighs.
(J. Beaumont, M.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
WEB: When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were locked where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be to you."