Twice the resurrected Jesus greets his frighten disciples with the words, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:19, 26). This is more than the absence of conflict. In Hebrew peace, shalom, means fullness or wholeness, having all that you need to be fully alive.
Peace is something for which many of us still seek. We may not fear the direct persecution which the early disciple’s feared, but we feel overwhelmed at times by the complexity and uncertainty of modern life. We fear that our jobs may disappear, or our children may stray, or our health may fail. The news media is unrelenting in showing us the potential disasters we face. We long for peace, deep personal peace.
Jesus offers peace, but not the absence of conflict or storm. When he appeared to the disciples, he showed them his scars from the cross. He had suffered and died. Yet the darkness of death could not hold him. Jesus’ death seems the very opposite of peace. Yet, as Frederick Buechner writes,
The contradiction is resolved when you realize that, for Jesus, peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle, but the presence of love. (Beyond Words, p. 307)
Jesus’ presence gave assurance of peace and love to the scared disciples. His presence today gives the same benefit.
How have you experienced God’s love and peace this week?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my life to be full and at peace with you.