John records the first words of Jesus to His gathered disciples post-resurrection as “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19-23)
Peace in the face of fear…
It seems that Jesus’ message to them was interrupted by fear at that point. Luke adds that the disciples were startled, very much afraid and wondering if they were seeing a ghost (Luke 24:36-42). But Jesus shows them his wounded hands and side and eats a piece of boiled fish to demonstrate that he wasn’t a phantasm but really with them. John picks up the narrative at that point with the words, “Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.”
So Jesus begins once again with them by saying, “Peace be with you.” As He continues to unfold this brief message for life post-resurrection He adds three things: (1) He is sending them exactly as the Father had sent Him, (2) He gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit, and (3) He points them to the power of forgiveness.
In a world experiencing so much hysteria over extreme weather, pandemics, identity politics, interpersonal relational strife, this is the light that a believer brings to his world — the light of peace, a sense of being on mission with Christ, walking in the Spirit, not the flesh, and being the first to forgive.
Today, the Risen Christ walks into whatever room I’m in and to whatever is giving rise to fear in my heart, and says…
- “Peace, be still.”
- “Do whatever you do next as my chosen, living representative.”
- “Depend on the Spirit’s life-giving presence, not the arm of the flesh.”
Together, this light burns even brighter!
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV
Cf. John 14:1, 27; 16:33; Colossians 3:15; Ephesians 2:14-18; 2 Timothy 1:6-7; 1 Peter 2:21-25
Thank you Leah and Lynn!
I’m so thankful for two sisters in Christ who recently inspired this reflection on Sunday morning, July 18, 2021. They shared a message in worship leadership and sermon based on Jesus’ words: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Luke 5:14-16 ESV)