I am beginning to grasp how important Jesus’ offer of peace was to His disciples, is to me. His peace is deeply freeing.
When Jesus miraculously appeared before His eleven disciples, he said: “Peace be with you” (John 20:19). This was much on His heart as something they needed. He had spoken to them of peace before including at the Last Supper ( John 16:33). The disciples were so fearful of the authorities that they were hiding away, behind bolted doors. Neither the locks nor their fears kept Jesus from joining His friends where they were. It was there that He greeted them with the profound words: “Peace be with you”.
Was Jesus’ offering of peace to them a gift, a blessing or a prayer? I am not sure. It could be all three. What I notice is that this peace is tied both to their fear and to His sending them as the Father had sent Him. The peace He invited them to experience freed them from their fears released them to respond to His commission. Jesus’ peace helped them unlock the doors closed by fear so that they could set being and communicating the good news of Jesus and His kingdom.
As I considered the fear that held the disciples back, I was encouraged to identify some of my own fears that hold me back. I am afraid of failure, of conflict, of others’ disapproval. I am afraid of being pushed around by others to do their will and of being pushed out of my comfort zone. Naming my fears is helpful and lingering personally with Jesus’ words to me “Peace be with you” is freeing.
What is it like for you to notice that Jesus is with you behind the closed doors of self isolation (due to COVID-19) and of fear? How does your heart hear His invitation: “Peace be with you”?
Lord Jesus, thank you for your Word and for the way it points us to You. Thank You that you come to us, in the person of your Holy Spirit, and give us Your peace. Help us to listen to You speak “Peace be with you” to us. Free us from our fears to open the doors to love, and to be sent in love as the Father sent You. Please give us creative and generous ideas of what being released and sent looks like in this (pandemic) season.