Peace be with you!
19 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.”
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
There is so much in this story of the first appearances of Jesus to his disciples. Scores of devotionals have written and will be written on these verses. Perhaps , you have a particular favorite.
Today, consider vss 19-21. Jesus shows up and says “Peace be with you.” He shows them His wounds and they are glad. Again, He says, “Peace be with you.”
I could use some peace right now, what about you? My world is a frightening place and anxiety feels like the only appropriate response. Will my family, my church community, my Michiana community, my nation, my job ever be secure and the same again? If I dwell on it too much, I am not feeling peace. Should I just shut off the news and retreat into the sanctum of my home? Is that even safe? How long can that even function before the shut down affects basic services?
To all of this Jesus says, to the isolated and the huddled, – even while they were still coming to terms with the crucifixion and the reported resurrection – “Peace to you” twice. But I never noticed this before, maybe it takes a COVID19 to notice things, but notice that two things are sandwiched in the middle of the peace – the pax – which Jesus offers: His wounds and the disciples’ joy.
Our fear is a hope killer, it gives way to our inclination to hide with Adam and Eve in the garden, to hide from God and to hide from each other. Yet, God sought Adam and Eve in their hiding and today on the Feast of the Resurrection Jesus has sought us out as well. Bearing His wounds, Jesus brings the Peace which the world – the governor, the president, the CDC, or anyone else – cannot bring. “The Peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7. Would you like to have peace?
Gaze upon the wounds of Christ and rejoice. The resurrected Jesus died for you. There is nothing – did you hear that (Romans 8:31-39) – nothing that the world can do which is bigger than that. No virus, no economic downturn, no, not even death can surpass what Jesus has done for you. Therein lies a calm joy for you today. Therein lies our hope. Lean into it. Allow it to wash over you in your baptismal covenant. Between wounds and joy, Jesus will not stop sharing the Peace.