What does John 20:19 mean?
ESV: On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
NIV: 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!'
NASB: Now when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were together due to fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and *said to them, 'Peace be to you.'
CSB: When it was evening on that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, "Peace be with you."
NLT: That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! 'Peace be with you,' he said.
KJV: 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, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
Verse Commentary:
When Jesus was arrested, all the disciples ran away (Matthew 26:56). John and Peter followed the arresting mob at a distance (John 18:15), and John was at the foot of the cross when Jesus was executed (John 19:25–27). Other than that, Jesus' closest followers have apparently been in hiding since His capture. John again uses the term "the Jews" in reference to the religious leaders of Jerusalem and their loyal adherents. It would be reasonable for the disciples to assume that if Jesus' enemies could have Him killed, they might well be looking to get rid of His students, as well.

That Jesus appears in a locked room means that His resurrected body is not blocked by physical barriers. John and Peter saw empty grave clothes in the tomb (John 20:6), but the stone was moved aside (John 20:1). That open tomb, it seems, was a sign for Jesus' followers, not a means for His escape. It allowed them to see what had happened but wasn't done "so that" Jesus could come out.

Jesus' comment here echoes what He said during the Last Supper (John 14:27). It's also the sort of thing a person might say in polite greeting. There's a good chance it was also meant to reduce any sense of fear. When these men had seen Jesus walking on water, they were terrified (John 6:19). They were probably startled to see Him appear, alive and well, in a secured room.

Not long before this moment, Mary Magdalene and other women had come to tell the disciples that they had seen Jesus alive (John 20:18; Luke 24:10–11) and were apparently ignored. One can only imagine the vindication she would have felt when learning that they, too, had encountered Him.
Verse Context:
John 20:19–23 is the first time Jesus appears to His disciples after being raised from death. They are hiding behind a locked door in fear when Jesus appears to speak with them. Jesus shows physical evidence of His crucifixion, then gives the men a partial measure of the Holy Spirit. This validates the earlier testimony of Mary Magdalene. Thomas is the only disciple not present, and the next passage shows his resistance to believe what has happened.
Chapter Summary:
Peter and John get a report from Mary Magdalene that Jesus' body is gone. They arrive to find an open grave, and empty grave clothes, along with a folded face cloth. When the two men leave, Mary remains and suddenly encounters a resurrected Jesus. Though she tells the others, they resist believing until they see Jesus in person. Thomas is especially stubborn, and Jesus remarks on how blessed they are to have been given so much proof. John points out that his writing is meant to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, arranged to encourage those who read to come to faith.
Chapter Context:
Most of Jesus' disciples scattered and hid when He was arrested (Matthew 26:56). Only John and some women were present to see His death and burial (John 19:26–30, 41–42; Matthew 27:60–61). When Jesus' tomb is seen empty, there is further confusion. Jesus appears to His followers, proving that He is alive, and remarking that they are blessed to have so much proof. John will complete his account in the next chapter with another encounter and more reminders about the nature of his writing.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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