Series 54


by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: John 21: 1-19)

We shall now consider our Lord’s interviews with a few of His disciples during the forty days between His resurrection and His ascension, and our study is based on three words in Matthew 28:9: “…Jesus met them.” It is hard for us to realise the great upheaval through which His disciples had passed. For three years they had left loved ones to follow the Lord, and now their Saviour had suffered and died on a Roman gibbet like a common criminal, and the whole city was talking about it. What a dreadful experience for them! – until early on Easter Day, when some of the disciples went to the tomb and found it empty, and the Angel told them that He had risen. As they hurried off to spread the news, suddenly – “Jesus met them”. How very significant these words are!

  1. 1. “Jesus met them.” He took the initiative. Evidently He was searching for them; and this is His attitude towards us today. He is always coming to us, to help us and to assure us of His presence. These disciples were never the same again after this meeting, and we are never the same again after we have really met with Christ.
  2. 2. “JESUS met them.” It does not say, “The Lord met them”, nor does it say “Christ met them”, but it was Jesus, their friend, who met them. He is of course God, the Just and Holy One; but when He reveals Himself to us it is as “Jesus” – look up and compare Acts 9:5.
  3. 3. “Jesus MET them.” They saw Him, they heard His voice and they touched Him. He was the same Lord Jesus and He was alive! The resurrection of Christ, the fact that He died, was buried, that He rose again and is alive today, is the best attested fact in history.
  4. 4. “Jesus met THEM.” To whom does “them” refer? Of course, He met all His disciples – the Eleven, His mother, the other women, and later on about five hundred of the brothers (1 Corinthians 15:6).

Let us single out a few individuals and groups of people whom He especially met, because they are typical of those whom the Lord meets today.

1. MARY MAGDALENE, overwhelmed with grief which was turned into joy.

John 20:1-16. Poor Mary! She owed so much to her Lord because out of her He had cast seven devils. She had thought He was dead and that she would never see Him again, and her heart was broken. Are you in that same position – consumed with grief and sorrow? You have been bereaved or a crushing disappointment has almost overwhelmed you. You can meet with Him right now because He is by your side, the same victorious, living, loving Lord! He has conquered death and is alive, and He comes to comfort you in your grief and to turn your sorrow into joy. As Christians we have the most glorious hope because death has been conquered, the grave has been overcome, and heaven has been opened for all believers (Revelation 4:1). Ask the Lord to meet with you at the point of your sorrow, to give you His comfort and joy.

2. TWO DISCIPLES, sad and disappointed, whose outlook was changed.

Luke 24:15-21 (particularly notice verse 21) – “but we had hoped…” – but all their hopes were dashed to the ground! Maybe this describes your present condition; your whole situation seems hopeless and you feel desperate. This is exactly how these disciples felt on the walk to Emmaus; but “Jesus met them”, had a wonderful interview with them, and afterwards they could say – verse 32. What a change took place! Now they had a burning heart and were overflowing with joy and hope. The same experience can be yours today.

3. A COMPANY OF DISCIPLES, very fearful, who experienced His peace and joy.

John 20:19-20. It was natural for them to be fearful. Jesus had been crucified, so what would happen now to His followers? They even hid behind locked doors, and suddenly – Jesus came! He had an interview with them and their fear vanished. If you are fearful read 1 John 4:18. Seek an interview with Jesus and He will say to you – Isaiah 41:10.

4. THOMAS, who could not believe without evidence, until Jesus appeared.

John 20:21-29. Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus first met them, and when they told him that Jesus had risen he refused to believe it. He replied, ‘I must have evidence’ (see John 20:25). A week later Jesus met Thomas (John 20:27) and immediately he was convinced (John 20:27-28). Many people say, ‘If I can’t see I won’t believe!’ Let us accept this challenge, then. Read the account of the Crucifixion in the four Gospels. See the Lord Jesus dying for you upon the Cross…How much more evidence of God’s love, of His desire for your salvation, do you need? How can you stay away from such a Saviour? Fall at His feet and say – John 20:28!

5. Poor, failing, backsliding, discouraged PETER, who was forgiven, restored and recommissioned.

John 21:1-17. Poor Peter! He had denied his Lord and things could never be the same again. He went back to his old job of fishing, but he failed at that too. How discouraged and heartbroken he was! – until early one morning, in an interview by the sea, Jesus met him and asked a question, which he repeated three times (John 21:15-17). How tenderly the Lord Jesus dealt with His failing servant – and how ready He is to multiply His grace in His compassionate and understanding dealings with us! If you have failed Him He will lift you up again, so that you can go on to prove His sufficiency and to proclaim His Gospel.