Scripture:When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, 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.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:19-21)
Reflection: In John’s gospel, on Easter Sunday evening Jesus appears to his disciples after his resurrection from the dead, and his greeting to them is, Peace. One must remember that earlier in the work, Jesus had told his disciples, Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Jesus brings an awesome silence, a state of tranquility to his fearful disciples. His peace is one that restores security and harmony within the community of his followers. Before he can do this, however, he has to provide positive identification; so, he shows them the holes in his forearms and the uniquely Johannine spear wound in his side. Knowing he is Jesus enables the disciples to rejoice.
Again, the risen Christ offers peace to his fearful disciples in order to end their uncertainty and restore concord among them. Then, he commissions them in the same manner as he had been commissioned by his Father to forgive sin. Throughout John’s gospel, the primary sin is that of disbelief. Jesus’s gift of peace removes fear and the disbelief that it produces and restores the security and tranquility of the community of the faithful.
There is no room for fear in a spirituality of mission. Followers of Jesus are commissioned with peace, concord. Jesus’s peace is not the opposite of war; it is the silence that emerges from within every person who believes that God raised Jesus from the dead. Fear causes the disciple to huddle behind a locked door. Peace causes the disciple to be sent into the world with an inner harmony or concord that even war cannot disrupt.
Journal/Meditation: What type of peace have you experienced through your mission to be a modern disciple of Jesus?
Prayer: Father, through your Son, Jesus Christ, you have given me the gift of peace. Never let fear keep me behind locked doors. Grant that your Holy Spirit fills me with inner harmony so that I may fearlessly proclaim the resurrection of him who is Lord, forever and ever. Amen.