Peace be with you (v.19).
It was dark. The garden was dark. The mood was
dark. Jesus had risen, but the Light hadn’t flooded in
. . . not yet. John and Peter had seen an empty tomb,
and in it they found only folded grave clothes. The one
who actually claimed to have seen Jesus was Mary
Magdalene. Most of the disciples must have wondered
if the tears, grief, and early morning shadows hadn’t
played a few tricks on Mary’s mind. So the disciples were
huddled together behind locked doors—huddled in fear.
And why shouldn’t they have been fearful? Fainthearted?
Spooked? The revolution had died. The
religious leaders had exacted revenge, and the Romans
had dropped the iron fist.
Then Jesus appeared! There He was, standing in the
middle of this timid band. We’re not told how Jesus
entered. He simply did. He was not there—and then
He was. And His words were direct: “Peace be with
you!” (John 20:19). Peace. When Jesus had appeared to
Mary, He spoke against her sorrow: “Dear woman, why
are you crying?” (v.15).
Jesus now stood in their midst speaking a reality—
peace—into existence. For Jesus, peace is the
atmosphere of the kingdom of God, and God’s kingdom
was what He was standing and declaring. Peace.
Jesus’ next move was to pull back His robe and offer
His wounds to the disciples’ plain view, showing them
His pierced hands and ripped-open side. Is this a strange scene, connected
to a declaration of peace? Jesus’ peace is not a way of avoiding what is most
heinous or disturbing. The peace Jesus offers is no stranger to violence or
abandonment or dread. Quite the opposite, it was won on a brutal cross.
And Jesus now stands in the midst of your nightmarish terror, fully alive,
pierced hands outstretched, naming your reality. Peace.
Continue reading John 20:1. Where did Thomas need peace? (vv.24-29).
How did Jesus offer it to him?
Where is your soul dark or sorrowful or fearful? What does God’s peace,
in Jesus, speak into those places?