2nd Sunday of Easter April 7, 2024


The Risen Lord Comes with Peace

John 20:19-31

Scripture Readings

Acts 3:12-20
1 John 5:1-6


201, 208:1,5-10, WS 732, LSB 720

Hymns from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) (TLH) unless otherwise noted

WS - Hymns from the Worship Supplement 2000

LSB - Hymns from the Lutheran Service Book, CPH ©2006

Sermon Audio: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/ministrybymail

Prayer of the Day: O risen Lord, You came to Your disciples and took away their fears with Your word of peace. Come to us also by Your Word and sacrament, and banish our fears with the comforting assurance of Your abiding presence; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Dear fellow redeemed in the risen Lord,

The curiosity of reality television soon wore off once I realized there was very little “reality” involved. Though television cameras followed real people with real names living in real places, whether it was “Survivor” or my favorite automotive show, most of what was aired on television was scripted. The producers picked and chose which scenes to put on television. They do this because they know that if they put the reality of real life on television it would not be enjoyable to watch. American audiences want to be entertained and escape the reality of their own lives when they turn on the television.

The same “scripting” cannot be said of Holy Scripture. The Bible captures people as they truly are. When the great patriarch Abraham was afraid that Pharaoh would kill him to marry his wife Sarah, he lied and said Sarah was his sister. Samson was a womanizer. Great King David was an adulterer, murderer, and liar who struggled with depression. Wise King Solomon was a polygamist. The list goes on and on. Scripture reveals real people as they really are. And the reality is that they were sinners just like us who had the same weaknesses and struggles that we have.

We find this reality in our text today. Here in John 20, the followers of Jesus are really struggling. They are fearful of what will happen to them and doubt, even deny, that Jesus really rose from the dead. FEAR AND DOUBT; how many of you struggle with the same thing? With each new week comes new fears. Well, rejoice! For the risen Lord is risen indeed and continues to come in peace to calm fears and build up faith! Hear now the Word of God recorded in John, chapter 20, beginning with the 19th verse—

On the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were together behind locked doors because of their fear of the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the LORD.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! Just as the Father has sent me, I am also sending you.” After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven. Whenever you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

But Thomas, one of the Twelve, the one called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the LORD!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

After eight days, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Take your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue to doubt, but believe.”

Thomas answered him, “My LORD and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Jesus, in the presence of his disciples, did many other miraculous signs that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (EHV)


It is evening on the first Easter Sunday. Since sunrise on that morning, reports had been coming in about an empty tomb and angels saying Jesus had risen. Throughout the day there were multiple eye-witness reports of the risen Lord. Mary Magdalene, then Peter, then two disciples on their way to Emmaus—all of whom had seen and talked to a living Jesus! There was excitement, but also confusion…and fear.

The threat for these disciples seemed real and present. The in less than 24 hours, they had gone from celebrating the Passover with their Lord to having Him killed on a cross. If the Jews and Romans killed their Lord so easily, what would stop them from coming after them? So it was on that first Easter evening, that the disciples were huddled together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews.

Yet, even though the doors were locked, the risen Lord comes to His fearful disciples and what is the first thing He says? Peace be with you. Peace. Jesus comes with peace for those fearful and confused disciples. Peace as they saw their Lord alive and well. Peace as the promised Messiah conquered the greatest fear of man—death. The risen Lord comes to His fearful disciples speaking peace.

The risen Lord continues to do the same for us. He comes to us speaking Peace. He comes with pierced hands and feet, showing you that He has already suffered and died for your sins. He shows you that He has already paid the debt for your sin on the cross. He lives! He has overcome our greatest fear too, death. The risen Lord comes with peace as He says to you, Because I live, you too shall live. (Jn 14:19)

Think of all the ways that Jesus’ resurrection calms our fears.

What then is there for us to fear? As our resurrected Lord comes to us with peace, we conclude with Paul, If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)


But that Easter evening, someone was missing. Thomas, one of the twelve, was not present. The ten disciples tell Thomas the good news, We have seen the Lord. Thomas’ reaction? Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe. Thomas is sometimes called “Doubting Thomas,” but that is really a gentle description for Thomas at this point. Thomas, in a most gory way demands hands-on proof of the risen Lord, stating unless these requirements are met, he will NEVER believe.

Thomas’ refusal to believe went on for another week—until today. On this day, one week after Easter, we once again see the mercy, pity, and grace the risen Lord has for His struggling disciples. With doors once again locked, Jesus appears, again speaking peace. Peace be with you.

Then to Thomas, the risen Lord offer His glorified body to his poking and prodding, Put your finger here and look at my hands. Take your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue to doubt, but believe. Behold the grace of the risen Lord! He wants to do everything He can to help Thomas overcome his doubt and unbelief.

Martin Luther rightly points out that Jesus could have picked a time when Thomas was there, but the Lord chose not to. He this did for our comfort and strength—as we find another disciple on Easter who is just like us. What do you doubt? God’s love for you? Do you doubt that you could be forgiven? Do you doubt that He cares what goes on in your life or in the world? The risen Lord comes with peace to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27) God proved His love for you on the cross. The Son of God died for every last one of your sins—those ugly words you spoke, those ugly thoughts you had, even those secret sins you didn’t realize you had done. The nail prints in the hands and feet of the risen Lord are visible marks that He loves you. The risen Lord who presents Himself to Thomas, presents Himself to you, saying Peace be with you!


It would be great if Jesus would just pop into our living rooms when we are struggling with fear or doubt. And He could. And as one of our members reminded me this week, in a way, He has. In fact, He’s doing that right now. The risen Lord doesn’t come physically as He does in our text, but He most certainly is present. John writes at the end of our text, These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. The risen Lord comes with peace by His Word.

The risen Lord wants to build you up and reassure you with His peace. He wants to calm your fears and dispel your doubts, that is why He has given us His Word. Why was it John said he wrote his Gospel? So that you would BELIEVE and have LIFE.

As Jesus comes to you through His Word, and you believe in Him as the risen Lord, Jesus says blessed are you—verse 29, Because you (Thomas) have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. Though we struggle with fear like the disciples on Easter day and though we doubt like Thomas did for that first week, Jesus continues to come to us with His resurrection peace through His Word. Though we have not seen Him with our eyes, we believe on Him as our risen Lord.

Thanks be to our risen Lord who died to earn our peace with God, who rose to seal that peace, and through His Word He comes to us with that peace to calm our fears and dispel our doubts! He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia! Amen!

—Pastor Nathan Pfeiffer

Berea Ev. Lutheran Church
Inver Grove Heights, MN

Ministry by Mail is a weekly publication of the Church of the Lutheran Confession. Subscription and staff information may be found online at www.clclutheran.org/ministrybymail.