So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21 NAS95)
I cannot imagine a more confusing and reorienting event in the history of mankind than the resurrection. Twelve, well, ten people (Thomas didn’t make the meeting this time), close friends of Jesus, all of whom had given up everything to wander the land of Israel with Him, consuming His words about a kingdom. Yet their understanding of kingdom and His understanding of Kingdom stood at odds with each other. Oh, they assumed they knew, but they didn’t. With all my theological training, I’m still figuring it out too, 2,000 years later. Even so, they walked with Jesus, heard Him, touched Him, laughed with Him, and gleaned a perspective of God from Him that was unlike any other. An amazing three years that seemed would never end. But they did, and their hopes of their vision of kingdom went with it. How do you follow a crucified Messiah, crucified like a criminal for claiming to be King? Three days later the word or rumor of resurrection came to their ears. Anxious and huddled in a room, wondering what to do with their life since the last three years seemed a waste, Jesus pops in uttering these words: “Peace be with You.” Living proof of a King and Kingdom that went well beyond their expectations. Jesus alive! Resurrection rumors made strikingly real. And a Kingdom that extends well beyond Israel. Reorienting life around a resurrected Jesus, Whom death could not stop filled their hearts with dissonance as reality turned right-side-up. Kingdom now manifests and reality comes into focus. Jesus literally rules and always has. He reigns over every sphere, not just religion, but all of life. Yet the character of His rule has nothing to do with the ways of men. God is love, so Jesus announces, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” Those words of Jesus indicate a radical re-orientation for us all — one I am still getting used to. Over time, I am learning He loves, really loves and I can rest. “Peace be with you!” has real meaning for me. He desires that I relax into His creation to enjoy His gifts, Himself and people especially, but places and things as well. Each day I live, the enjoyment of His Kingdom and this peace with Him deepens, fostering a desire to bring others along with me following the resurrected King! I hope your experience of His peace reflects the richness He offers.
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.” (Psalms 4:8 NAS95)
What helps you maintain the experience of God’s peace in life and relationships?
How does God speak to you in times when peace seems lacking? What sorts of things trigger the lack of peace? What helps in those times?