Reading: John 20: 19-31
In the hours and days after the crucifixion, the disciples hid in fear. They gathered together for support, but we’re basically in hiding. Who could blame them? One may occasionally slip out but they returned quickly, probably with one eye turned back to see if they were being followed. If the authorities could so easily strike down the shepherd, what resistance could the sheep really offer?
Fear was real and palpable amongst the disciples. They had good reason to be hiding behind locked doors. Then Jesus comes and stands in their midst. Both times He opens with the same line: “Peace be with you”. I imagine there was a short pause before He continued to talk. Jesus could have offered them anything. He chose peace. Fear was controlling them and Jesus knew that for them to go on from here, to begin to spread the good news, that their fear must be conquered.
When asked why one did not share their faith or why one could not bring themselves to invite a friend to church or why one decided not to help the one in need before them, the answer is usually the same: fear. In our minds we may try to rationalize our failure to act with some other excuse. But when being truly honest, dear is usually the main reason. So Jesus’ words speak to us too in our weakness, in our fear: peace be with you. Peace be with you. Peace.
‘Calm your fears my child, my peace is with you” – step out in trust and invite that hurting friend to church. ‘Feel my peace washing over you’ – in faith share that burning message in your heart with the one who is seeking. ‘Sense my peace washing away your fears’ – in the helping of a stranger, Christ is present. Peace be with you. Fear not, for He is with you. Peace be with you. Peace.