Peace be with you! (07-04-21)
Bible Reading: John 20:19-22
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said,
"Peace be with you!"
After he said this, he showed them his hands and side.
The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
There are many things in life that cause us to be afraid; some are real, some are imagined. In a sense that doesn’t matter; what matters is how we feel about a situation and how we handle the fear; whether or not we let is dominate our lives and restrict what we do.
Following the crucifixion of Jesus it is perhaps not surprising that the disciples, his closest friends and followers, were hidden away behind locked doors out of fear of the local authorities. Whether at that time this fear was real fear or an imagined we don’t know.
It was into this situation though, on the evening of the day of resurrection, that Jesus appeared and stood among the disciples and said to them, “Peace be with you!”
We can hide away from the things that cause us to be afraid, but thankfully we cannot hide away from the presence of the Risen Christ. He is with us to bring us peace.
Then, a second time, Jesus gives them his peace, after which he sends them out to continue the mission and ministry that he had started, and for that he breathes on them his Holy Spirit.
There are many times in the bible where we are told to ‘Fear not!’ Here we are offered the antidote to fear, the peace of the Risen Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
For the disciples, the situation outside had not changed; the local authorities were still there; maybe looking for Jesus’ co-conspirators, maybe not. What had changed though, was the disciples themselves. With the peace that Jesus gives and the presence of his Holy Spirit, they became able to face the crowds and continue the work to which God had called them.
Are there situations in life that cause you to be afraid? Afraid for your safety, your health, your family, your work or your finances? Whatever fears you have, whatever locked doors you might hide behind, Jesus comes to meet you, to bring you his peace and to send you out to fulfil his purpose for you.
When things cause you to be anxious, don’t just take a deep breath, instead breathe in the Holy Spirit, and receive the peace of Jesus that opens the doors that fear has locked.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that there is nothing in life that you and I can’t face together.