Tuesday, April 21

Peace be with you

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.”  20   When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  21   Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”  22   And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  23   If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” John 20:19-23

Each of the four Gospels accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) report Jesus meeting with a gathering of his disciples after the resurrection. Luke (Luke 24:36) and John (v.19, above) identify the Lord’s first words to this group as “peace be with you.” This was more than a greeting. This was the introduction to an entirely new reality. Jesus had accomplished his work of salvation. He had willingly given his life as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus endured death and the grave. Jesus was resurrected, never to die again. Now, there was peace with God. John records how Jesus reinforces this new reality of peace.  Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 

This new reality is not only a state of peace which exists between God and humanity because of Jesus Christ’s work. This new reality is also an active peace , where those who receive this peace now are sent to bring this peace to others. “As the Father sent me, I am sending you.”

I recall the day when I began to learn how to properly slide in the game of baseball. Our coach told us why and when we might need to slide. But for us to learn, he needed to show us how to do it. So, he stood about halfway between 1 st and 2 nd base, started to run and then at the right spot, leaned back, extended his leg and slid perfectly into 2 nd base. As he got up and dusted himself off, he looked at us and said: “now you do it.” We did not do it well right away. But that is why they call it “baseball practice.”

Jesus Christ had shown his disciples how to love others. Now, as he is gathered with them following his resurrection, it’s as if he is saying: “now, you do it.” “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

We can’t do what Jesus did, (bring peace), if we don’t receive what Jesus gives (his peace). Day by day we receive this peace as we turn our attention to God through His Word. Perhaps you may want to practice by using this style of prayer, which focuses on words from Jesus. 

  1. Be still.
  2. As you slowly breathe, align these words to the rhythm of your breath: “peace be with you.”
  3. As you silently repeat this prayer, know that these words are from your savior, Jesus Christ.