19th April 2020

“On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’” (John 20:19-20)

I can just about imagine what it must have been like behind that locked door.  The disciples would have been terrified, trying to make sense of the past few days, even although Jesus had told them that all these things would happen.  Jesus, their teacher, their friend, the one whom they called Lord, had died a brutal and cruel death.  This wasn’t supposed to happen.  He was the Messiah!  The Chosen One!  Did all that Jesus teach them mean nothing?  Was it lies; were they just false promises offered to simple, ordinary men and women looking for a better future? 

The disciples would have been terrified.  But they were also confused.  The women had returned from the tomb with these wild stories about Jesus not really being dead at all.  Mary Magdalen went to the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” and she told them all that he had said to her.  Was Mary to be believed?  And if she was, what would this mean for them now?  They knew that the Jews would be on the hunt for anyone who had been a follower, and the twelve would have been top of the list of suspects sought out first.  The disciples were terrified of the Jews, and for good reason.  They were terrified, and, undeniably anxious.

And then something amazing happens.  A miracle!  Jesus, who had appeared to Mary, now appeared to the men in that locked room.  And what were his words?  They were words of comfort.  “Peace be with you!”  He showed them his side and his hands, proving to the disciples that he was indeed the same man they had watched being crucified.  No words of recrimination for doubting his word, no expression of disappointment at their earlier expressions of despair.  No.  His words were words of comfort.  “Peace be with you!”  

The peace that Jesus offers does not wipe away all that concerns us, but rather is like the kind that the Apostle Paul describes in his letter the Philippians: “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Phil. 4:7) keeping our hearts and our minds in Jesus Christ.

Many of us may be nursing very real fears and anxieties at the moment.  Like the disciples, we are behind closed doors, physically distanced from the ones we would normally turn to for comfort.  But we are not, and never can be distanced from Jesus, for we live with the ever-present gift of his Holy Spirit, the same Spirit promised to the disciples in that locked room.  So, let us remember whose we are, to whom we belong, and ask Him for that “peace which passes all understanding”, so that our fears are quashed and our hope for a better future be encouraged.

Prayer
Loving God, whose love knows no boundary, make yourself known to us once again, that we might know your peace and be strengthened by it.  Amen.
To listen to Graham Kendrick’s “Peace to you” please click on the link below.

Peace to You