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.” – John 20:19-23.
Jesus had conquered death, and by the mighty power of God He had been resurrected from the grave. The disciples were gathered in a house behind locked doors. Jesus walked through the doors and stood in their midst. This is the first church building where the resurrected Lord was in the midst of His people.
“Then . . . came Jesus and stood in the midst.” That is the essence of the Christian faith: Jesus in the midst of human life. Moreover, this is the theme of the Bible:
- The Lord was “in the midst of the land” (Exodus 8:22);
- Later on, “the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you” (Deuteronomy 23:14);
- Jeremiah exclaimed, “You, O LORD, are in our midst” (Jeremiah 14:9);
- Daniel reported One who “is like the Son of God” (Daniel 3:25) in the midst of the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego;
- As a babe, Jesus was in the midst of the shepherds and the wise men; as a boy, He was in the midst of the doctors of theology in the temple;
- As God the Holy Spirit, Jesus is in the midst of His people “where two or three are gathered together” (Matthew 18:20);
- At Calvary, Jesus was in the midst of sinners, “where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center” (John 19:18);
- As a Lamb in Revelation, Jesus is the One “in the midst of the seven lampstands” representing the churches (Revelation 1:13).
- On the second of His appearance when all the disciples were now gathered together, Jesus “stood in the midst” (John 20:26) of them.
Why is this theme repeated? Simply, because this is the key to the Christian life. This is the key to the abundant life, it is the key to the fellowshipping life of the church, it is the key to the witnessing life of the believer, and this is the key to the successful life of any child of God.
Thus, as we assemble in the house of worship, or wherever we worship together, our deepest desire is that Jesus will be in our midst! As a matter of fact, you can have Jesus in the midst of your life. There are some people who have no room for Christ. There are others who have some room for Christ. Jesus wants every room. He told His disciples to go and find an upper room, furnished, ready for the Master.
Here we find Christ Jesus in the midst of His people, His Body, His Church. No Christian can be spiritual, powerful, or growing unless Jesus is in the midst of all of life.
TO BE CONTINUED