When it was evening on that day . . . and the doors of the house where the Disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” John 20:19 (NRSV)
It has been almost three weeks since we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus. Yet, I am drawn to the Disciples’ experience on the first evening of Jesus’ resurrection. They were huddled in fear in a locked room. Their lives were radically changed by Jesus’ crucifixion and death. Their world was torn apart.
I suspect the Disciples were struggling to make sense of their radically changed lives and their future without the physical presence of Jesus. Who were they without Jesus? What would they do? Where would they go? What decisions should they make? Did they have a future and what would it be?
Jesus comes to the Disciples. Jesus’ words to them, “Peace be with you,” seems strange in the midst of their changed, unsettled lives, torn-apart world, and uncertainty. Their lives were anything but peaceful . . . total chaos. But, Jesus offers them a peace that is more than the absence of fear, uncertainty, conflict, or shattering life experiences.
The Disciples’ experience is more real than ever to me, as I sit behind the locked doors of my house, heartbroken and deeply sad by the recent death of my wife. Our lives can get locked-up for other, yet life-changing, reasons. If your joyful, tranquil, reliable, secure life, has been shattered by an experience, you, like me, can relate in a deeper way to the Disciples.
Like them, we long to hear Jesus speak “Peace be with you,” the peace that is “Shalom.” Shalom is God’s gift of peace in the Risen Christ that assures us that we are not alone, that we have a future, that we can keep moving. Jesus is our peace that keeps on giving in the midst of life-shaking changes and hard days.
We can have peace if Jesus is the center of our lives. If we believe that Jesus is with us. If we trust Jesus who holds the future. If we listen to the still, small voice of Jesus in the quiet meadows of our hearts assuring us that we have a future. The Disciples did. And, like them, we will receive courage and strength to remain committed, to keep moving.
Then the Resurrection of Jesus becomes real to us.