Each Easter Sunday morning we usually focus on the events that took place early in the morning on that first Easter Day – in particular Peter and John running to the tomb and the risen Jesus then appearing to Mary Magdalene. However, it is also wonderful to reflect on what happened “on the evening of that first day of the week” as set out in John 20v19-23.
Ten disciples (i.e. the Twelve minus Judas Iscariot and Thomas) were hiding away together behind locked doors, fearful that the Jewish authorities would come looking for them. In fact it is Jesus who seeks them out – and twice over He says to them “Peace be with you!” The very first word they heard was “Peace”, not blame, not fault-finding, not rebuke. They had all deserted Him in His great hour of need; they were now filled with fear; they clearly had not understood and believed His promise to rise again – yet the Lord wants them to receive and retain His peace. Just a few days earlier He had said “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14v27).
The Lord’s peace is, of course, far deeper than mere quietness – it’s all wrapped up in the Hebrew word ‘shalom’ meaning wholeness, harmony, well-being, tranquillity, rest etc. What grace of God to seek to leave such peace with His people. No wonder we are also called to seek such peace: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Colossians 3v15).
Peace and Grace