Peace be with You

Peace be with you.

“On the evening of that day [when He was resurrected], the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ “ John 20:19

As I write this, it is Easter weekend, a time when Christians around the world celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was crucified on a Friday, buried, and then on the third day, Sunday, He was resurrected from the dead.  This is why Christians gather on Sunday rather than on Saturday, which was the traditional Jewish Sabbath day.  We gather weekly on Sunday to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus.  We also eat bread and drink wine when we gather, as instructed at the last supper of Jesus with His disciples, to remember His death sacrifice on our behalf, also recognizing that this sacrifice bought our redemption, allowing for us too to be resurrected like Jesus.

We also should be remembering the resurrection daily as individuals.  The resurrection represents the guarantee of our future hope.  This is the light on the horizon upon which we focus on as we journey through this time on earth, longing for our pilgrimage to end, and to be there at our destination with Jesus.  It could happen that our earthly life will end or that Jesus will return and we will be transformed; either way, this is our hope of glory.

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” 1 Peter 1:13

We celebrate so that we don’t lose focus or forget. We all know how easy it is to get caught up in the things of this world.  Our lives get busy and we get engaged in many things that capture our attention and the focus of our life.  We need to reset, daily as individuals, and weekly as small groups, yearly en masse.

The whole world agrees and knows that this life will end, and that we will leave this life with nothing.  Yet many live as if this were not true; they live as if there will be no end to this life.  This is the way of the world and is foolish.

So not only is it wise to focus on our eternal hope, but there is something else that is maybe not as apparent.  This focus on hope will bring peace.  It will bring inner peace, quiet, rest, and tranquility.

Jesus knew this.  Jesus knew that the full, deep comprehension of His resurrection by His disciples would bring inner peace to them.  This was why, according to the eye witness account of John, when Jesus first appeared to the disciples as a group on the day He was resurrected, the first thing He said was “Peace be with you.” This was not just a simple salutation.  He repeated it again after He showed them His wounds.

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’” John 20:21

In the Phillips translation it’s worded this way: “Yes, peace be with you! Just as the Father sent me, so I am now going to send you.”

Up to this point the disciples were fearful.  They locked the doors for fear of the Jews.  But on an even deeper level, they didn’t understand what had happened.  Jesus was killed by the authorities.  They had not yet realized the implication of the resurrection.

“….for as of yet they did not know the scripture, that He must rise from the dead.” John 20:9

It was only a few days earlier that Jesus spoke about this peace when He gave what some call His “farewell discourse” after the last supper.  I think it was possible that He even reminded them of this during this first appearing, although it is not recorded in the Scriptures by John.  Here are a few quotes from His discourse in John 14:

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:1-3

“I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also.”  John 14:18-19

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You have heard me say to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe.” John 14: 27-29

Eternal hope produces inner peace.  This inner peace is powerful.  Jesus empowers us with this peace so that we can endure with patience our journey through this life, so that we can continue in our well doing and not weary.  Jesus said that He sends His disciples with this peace.  He sends them with the same peace and security that the Father had sent Him with.  Do not take this peace for granted.

Let me spell this out very clearly:  If it is a reality to us that Jesus is preparing a place for us in His Father’s house, then our heart will not be troubled. This peace in our hearts is very powerful.  The world seeks this peace and cannot find it.  Many of our problems are the result of not having this peace, but rather living under stress, fear, confusion, etc.

When the disciples saw the resurrected Jesus, the promise of eternal life became a reality to them.  Thomas had to see the mark of the nails and the wound in His side to make it a reality, but we must make it a reality without seeing, but based only on the scriptural account of eye witnesses.

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.’ “ John 20:29

May the Lord bless us with the faith to make the hope in the resurrection to eternal life a reality, so that we may gain the power that comes from the peace it brings, to enable us to endure till the end of our journey.

Amen.

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2 comments
  1. Laura McDonald said:

    I spoke at an Easter service one year and became violently ill following the event. I know God does not harm his followers but thought there might be a lesson here so I began doing some research on “Easter”. I started in the Bible (of course) and found that Easter “Ishtar” is mentioned more than a few times in Scripture. She is the “Whore of Babylon”, the wife of Baal. God refers to Easter as an “Abomination”. I studied her in Genesis and again in the Book of Revelation, where her return is mentioned. Easter is a woman who believed herself to be a ‘goddess’, a fertility goddess to be exact. She believed she descended from heaven in an egg (remind you of anything… Easter eggs are “Easter’s egg”). Her husband was killed by a wild boar. After his death she married her own son, with whom she bore a child. Every year to celebrate the death of her first husband (father to her second) a pig was slaughtered and a festival was held. This fertility festival was an orgy. Non-Hebrew people (Pagans) celebrated this festival on the first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the spring equinox… “EASTER’. Easter has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior and since God places EXTREME POWER in NAMES it is imperative that we call it “RESURRECTION DAY’ and acknowledge it WHEN GOD HAD IT HAPPEN…AT THE TIME OF PASSOVER, not some whore’s holiday. The “Easter” mentioned in the Bible is this pagan ritual that Herod attended.

    OVER THREE HUNDRED YEARS AFTER THE CRUCIFIXION Emperor Constantine moved the recognition of the Resurrection Day to the “Feast of Easter” .. a totally PAGAN holiday. NO MAN HAS THE RIGHT TO ‘MOVE’ WHAT GOD HAS WROUGHT. I became physically ill when I read this and realized the great BLASPHEMY that we have done by defiling the most loving thing that our Creator has done for us… the sacrifice of His own Son. We are celebrating the Resurrection of the Son of God on a holiday for a WHORE!!!

    God tells us He has a “time for EVERYTHING under Heaven”. Christ told us REPEATEDLY to BEWARE of the “false teachings” and the “vain and useless traditions of men”. Our “Easter” is exactly what He was speaking of , among other things, like calling Sunday the Sabbath.

    God only has one Sabbath. It is from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. The Bible only mentions that in order to ‘lay low’ the disciples met on the day of His Resurrection (there is information that suggests this was not a Sunday but a Saturday). Days for Jews begin at sundown “FOR AN EVENING AND A MORNING WERE THE … DAY” The Crucifixion took place at the time of (not during) Passover …GOD’S APPOINTED TIME, NOT EASTER’S!!! THE SABBATH WAS AND ALWAYS WILL BE GOD’S DAY. Even the Apostle Saul said he continued to honour the Sabbath. (Here’s are perfect metaphor for the confusion of having met on the Lords Day and us thinking something changed{God DOES NOT CHANGE}). Saul never had his name changed. In chapter nine it says “Saul, also referred to as ‘Paul'” but in chapter 23 Jesus Christ calls him “SAUL”, not ‘Paul’.

    Gentiles are to be a light to the Jews. No Jew would celebrate Easter and our doing it presents a HUGE stumbling block. WE ARE COMMANDED BY GOD IN THE BOOK OF LEVITICUS CHAPTER 23 to celebrate Passover.. it is God’s Holy Day, not just a Jewish Holiday. It is for ALL PEOPLE, FOR ALL GENERATIONS, FOR ALL TIME. Other than the internet for research, I would suggest a great book called “The Family Guide to Biblical Holiday”. If one stops celebrating Easter and goes back to Passover we see the message and parallel of having the Blood of Christ written over the doorpost of our hearts in order to be redeemed. We also see what happens to those who don’t. Celebrating Passover and seeing the connection to the Resurrection (as opposed to Easter) teaches us of God’s love, His promises, His redemption through the gift of His Son. We dishonor it by continuing to place it on a day for a whore.

    ________________________________

    • Hi Laura,
      I was aware of the fact that the current “Christian” holidays were put in place by Constantine and were brought over or simply renamed from pagan holidays.
      I really see them more as holidays for the world and not for the church (I don’t celebrate them), although I am not against other Christians celebrating them if they feel in their mind that they can honor the Lord in doing so.
      I see this as aligning with the advice of the Scriptures in Romans 14:
      “One person esteem on day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.” Rom. 14:5-6
      Also consider this verse in Colossians:
      “So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival (feast day) or new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” Col. 2:16-17
      I am not sure exactly what your feelings are on the celebration of Easter and viewing Sunday as a day of rest, but I would be careful in taking a stand that others are “dishonoring the Lord” or doing something evil. The point in the Scriptures above, if you read the context of both Romans and Colossians, is that although there may be some value in celebrating feast days or sabbaths, it is not the core of Christianity, and therefore we should not judge others with regards to how they celebrate (or not celebrate) them. It is much more important that we learn how to be in Christ, how to walk in the Spirit and walk in love, with our heart treasuring the things of heaven, storing up our riches there and waiting for the return of Christ. I like the way that Paul said it (inspired by the Holy Spirit) in Galatians, when some Jewish Christians were trying to elevate the importance of circumcision, which I see as similar to elevating the importance of feast days (this is the Phillips translation):
      “In Christ Jesus there is no validity in either circumcision or uncircumcision; it is a matter of faith, faith which expresses itself in love” Gal. 5:6
      I do not see it as a critical thing whether a person is celebrating Easter or not, or if they are honoring the Lord on Sunday or Saturday, or every day. What is critical is a person’s faith. They need to be “in Christ Jesus” with a faith that can express itself in love.
      I think it is wonderful that you find value in the feast days and I would support you in honoring the Lord by celebrating them. My focus has been on what I see as more critical issues: having a living faith, shifting your hope from the things of this world to heaven, and knowing how to walk in the Spirit, so that you can truly walk in love.
      Jim

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