What makes you nervous? What brings fear and anxiety to your heart? On Easter Sunday evening, Jesus’ followers had reason for anxiety and fear. First, they thought their lives might be in danger. The Jewish religious leaders had put Jesus to death. How hard would it be for them to get the disciples? Additionally, they were struggling with guilt. For whatever reason, they had not gotten it when Jesus told them he would rise from the dead. They should have believed him. How would the risen Jesus deal with them? In anger and judgment? Here’s how:
“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ After he said this, he showed them his hands and side” (John 20:19,20).
In the place of fear, there was forgiveness. Why? Because Jesus had really died and risen. The sight of Jesus’ nail-scarred—but risen!—hands drove fear out of their hearts!
Picture Jesus. He’s standing in front of you, smiling, hands outstretched. You can see the nail scars on his hands. He says to you, “Peace be with you.” There in his words of peace, in his nail-scarred yet risen hands, is the antidote to fear, all fear. For there, in the hands and words of Jesus, is forgiveness.