The Gospel of John
(James J. Barker)

Lesson 52


(John 20:19-22)


1.     The Lord Jesus appeared on several occasions to His disciples after His resurrection from the dead.  No one Gospel gives us all of the various appearances of our Lord after He rose from the dead. 

2.     John does not record all of the appearances.  All the various accounts should be studied and diligently compared (cf. I Cor. 15:1-8).

3.     On that first Resurrection Sunday, our Lord had already appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other women as they returned from the grave, then to Peter, and then to the two disciples on the Emmaus Road.

4.     We are looking now at the first Sunday night service after the death and resurrection of our Lord (20:19). The Bible teaches that we should meet both Sunday morning and Sunday night (cf. Acts 20:7).

5.     Remember, Sunday is “the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10).

6.     This is our Lord’s first message to the assembled disciples after He rose from the dead.  My message this evening is entitled, “A Visit From the Risen Saviour.”  If you are a born again child of God, I hope this message will be an encouragement to you.  And if you are not saved, it is my hope and prayer that you repent of your sin and come to Christ tonight.







1.     The first thing our Lord said to His disciples was, “Peace be unto you” (20:19), and He said it twice (cf. 20:21). 

2.     Whenever our Lord says anything to us it is important.  But whenever He says something twice, it is very, very important. 

3.     For example, twice in John 3 our Lord says, “Ye must be born again.”

4.     It is interesting to note that after our Lord said, “Peace be unto you,” He “shewed unto them His hands and His side” (20:20).

5.     What does that signify?  He showed them His wounds.  The Bible says, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).

6.     Our Lord said, “Peace be unto you,” and the basis for that peace is the blood He shed on the cross for your sins and mine (cf. Col. 1:20, 21; Rom. 5:1).

7.     I read about a missionary named Eric Barker, who had spent 50 years preaching the Gospel in Portugal.  During WWII, he was advised to send his wife and eight children back to England because the situation in Portugal was getting dangerous.  His sister and her three children also boarded the same ship back to England. The next Sunday, Eric Barker stood before his congregation and said, “I have just received word that all my family have arrived safely home.”  He then proceeded with the service as usual. It wasn’t till later on that his congregation realized what he meant.  He had been handed a telegram before the service notifying him that a submarine had torpedoed the ship and everyone had drowned.  Eric Barker knew his wife and children and his sister and her children were all now in heaven – they had indeed “arrived safely home.”   This is the peace that only Jesus gives.

8.     “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll – Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

9.     Many of us are familiar with the story behind that great hymn. Back in 1873, Horatio G. Spafford lost his four daughters when their boat sank out at sea.  His wife survived and cabled her husband the sad news.  He then wrote the words to this great hymn, “It is Well With My Soul.”  Please let me ask you, is it well with your soul? 

10. If you have no peace in your heart, let me encourage you to turn to Jesus (cf. John 14:27).

11. John 20:20 says, “And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.”

12. “There is a discerning of the Lord’s Presence in the midst of His people which is essential to the power of our assemblies. I pray that we may have this, even now, and if we do, we shall not be a whit behind those who saw Jesus with their eyes and heard Him with their ears! I do not think there is any privilege which the

actual bodily Presence of Christ could bestow which we may not obtain at this moment by the actual spiritual Presence of Christ, if we do but exercise faith in Him as being in the midst of us. He has said, ‘Lo, I am with you always,’ and this is the pledge of every conceivable good” (CHS, “Jesus In Our Midst”).



1.     First our Lord gives peace, then He gives privileges (the Great Commission, 20:21b; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15, 16; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:8).

2.     I confess I am primarily using this word “privileges” to keep the alliteration (Peace, Privileges, Power), but I am also using it because it is indeed a privilege to be sent out by the Lord as one of His ambassadors (II Cor. 5:17-21). 

3.     Unfortunately, too many Christians just don’t see it that way.  They think of soulwinning as an inconvenience or some difficult chore.  Beloved, it is a privilege to tell others the Gospel!  It is a great privilege to be an “ambassador for Christ” (II Cor. 5:20).

4.     Please allow me to illustrate this “ministry of reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18).  Suppose President Bush was to call me on the phone and say, “Pastor Barker, I did not get too many votes in the Elmont area.  I would like for you to be my ‘ambassador’ to Elmont.  I would like for you to carry out a ‘ministry of reconciliation’ for me.  Tell the good people of Elmont that I would appreciate it if they would pray for me, and I promise to pray for them.” 

5.     That would be a great honor.  But you and I have a far greater ministry – far more honorable, far more important, far more glorious, far more wonderful, and far more exciting! We are ambassadors for Christ! (II Cor. 5:20).

6.     Our ministry of reconciliation can change dirty rotten, hell-bound sinners into godly born-again children of God.

7.     Our ministry of reconciliation can sober up drunkards, clean up adulterers, patch up broken homes, and deliver hopeless sinners from lives of wickedness and despair. 

8.     The government spends (wastes) billions of dollars on these useless programs, but as Lester Roloff used to say, the only pill a dopehead needs is the “Gos-pill.”

9.     No government program can redeem a lost sinner. No religion can save a soul from hell.  Only the Gospel can do that.  This is indeed a great privilege – to carry the Gospel message all over this sin-cursed land (John 20:21).

10. Something this important should be taken very seriously!  And yet it is a fact that the vast majority of born-again Christians in America never win souls.

11. Margaret Clarkson was born in 1915.  She was a teacher in a gold-mining camp in northern Ontario, Canada. Hers was a lonely life, but she knew that this is where God wanted her to serve Him. She had a great desire to be a missionary on a foreign field but because of her health was unable to go. One day she was reading again the verse John 20:21, “Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”

12. While meditating on this verse she wrote the words to the well-known hymn, “So Send I You.” 

So send I you to labor unrewarded,
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown,
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing-
So send I you to toil for me alone.

So send I you to bind the bruised and broken,
O'er wand'ring souls to work, to weep, to wake,
To bear the burdens of a world aweary-
So send I you to suffer for My sake.

So send I you to loneliness and longing,
With heart ahung'ring for the loved and known,
Forsaking home and kindred, friend and dear one-
So send I you to know My love alone.

So send I you to leave your life's ambition,
To die to dear desire, self-will resign,
To labor long, and love where men revile you-
So send I you to lose your life in Mine.

So send I you to hearts made hard by hatred,
To eyes made blind because they will not see,

To spend, tho' it be blood, to spend and spare not-
So send I you to taste of Calvary.



1.     Years ago, a minister asked the duke of Wellington if he thought it was necessary to bring the Gospel to the heathen in India.  The “Iron Duke” responded by asking this question, “Sir, what are your marching orders?”  The minister replied, “What do you mean by that?”  The duke of Wellington said, “Sir, these are your marching orders: ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.’”

2.     Not only has our Lord given us our marching orders, this great privilege to carry the Gospel around the world, He has given us the power to do it.  The Bible says He breathed on them, and saith unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22).

3.   The Lord would never tell us to do something we were not able to do.  He has given us the Holy Spirit.

4.   If you and I try and win souls in our own strength we will certainly fail.  We may get a few professions but we probably won’t get too many real conversions.  Beloved, we need the power of God (John 20:22; cf. Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8).

5.   The Bible says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).  He is with us tonight, because He said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).

6.   Spurgeon was right: “I do not think there is any privilege which the actual bodily Presence of Christ could bestow which we may not obtain at this moment by the actual spiritual Presence of Christ, if we do but exercise faith in Him as being in the midst of us.”

7.   The risen Christ is with us this evening, and He is showing us His pierced hands, and His wounded side, and He is saying, “Peace be unto you” (John 20:19, 20).

8.   Unsaved friend: Do you want the peace that only Jesus brings? Christ has for sin atonement made.  He’s a wonderful Saviour.  He will save you and pardon you and give you peace but you will have repent and turn from your sin and ask Him to save you.

9.   Once a sinner is reconciled to God, he must go out and tell others what God has done for him (John 20:21).

10.   On the basis of Christ’s death on the cross, the life which is in God becomes the life that is in us! We have received the Spirit of God! (John 20:20-22).

11.   We see this quite clearly in the book of Acts. Acts 17:6 says the apostles “turned the world upside down.”  They couldn’t do that in their own strength.  They could not do that without the Holy Spirit.



1.     John 20:22 reminds me a little of Genesis 2:7 when God breathed life into Adam, the first man.

2.     In both Hebrew (OT) and Greek (NT), the word for “breath” also means “spirit.” 

3.     The breath of God in the first creation meant physical life; and the breath of God in the new creation meant spiritual life.

4.     Do you have that spiritual life?  You can have it today if you will just receive it.  

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