John 20:19-20, 26-27
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, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. …And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
- Reflect On: John 20:19-20, 26-27 & Colossians 3:12-15
- Praise God: Who is the source of all peace.
- Offer Thanks: To Christ our peace.
- Confess: Any failure to forgive.
- Ask God: To help you live in peace with others.
The gospels record Jesus using this ordinary greeting but under extraordinary circumstances. …”Peace upon you!” were the first words He spoke to the startled disciples, cowering behind locked doors after His crucifixion. Instead of rebuking them for abandoning and betraying Him when He was arrested, He blessed them with shalom. A week later He invited Thomas, the doubting disciple, to touch His wounds, to probe the separated flesh in His hands and side so that he too could believe that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Indeed, it is the wounds of Christ that bring us peace. This may sound like poetry until you begin to picture just how hideous the crucifixion was. A naked man nailed to a set of crossbeams and then slowly tortured to death in full view to the public. Jesus hung on the cross for three hours, making Himself the target of God’s wrath against all the pettiness, self-righteousness, bickering, meanness, anger, gossip, gluttony, greed, jealousy, lies, drunkenness, child abuse, infidelity, lust, rape, murder, and destruction that we humans have wreaked upon the world. The cross was our punishment, the payback for our sins. But Christ, loving us and being unwilling to let us suffer a punishment we could not survive, transformed an instrument of torture into one of victory. Through it He both upheld God’s justice and healed our relationship with a holy God.
No matter what we have done, how agitated or frantic we feel, or how chaotic life has become, Christ says to us today… “Peace upon you.” Peace be with you in your relationship with God, with others, and with yourself. May His peace settle into your soul and rule into your heart. May it become the loom on which your life is woven, clothing you with his compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Repent of what you have done wrong. Forgive as you have been forgiven. And let the One who is called the Prince of Peace rule in your heart.