Jesus offers you one of the greatest gifts – peace.
Imagine the moment Cleopas burst through the door after his Emmaus encounter with Jesus. “You’ll never guess what just happened! Jesus! We saw Jesus!” he proclaims. “He walked with us to Emmaus! I mean, didn’t know who He was at first. For some reason we couldn’t recognize Him. But oh, when He spoke! When He recited the Scriptures – we just knew something was different! Then, out of nowhere, we are sitting at the table, He broke the bread, and suddenly there He was! In front of us the whole time! I don’t know why we didn’t recognize Him. I mean, we know Jesus! But it wasn’t him at first. I don’t know how to explain this!”
The rest of the disciples sat silent. Stunned. They did not know what to make of this. Had Cleopas lost his mind? Was he feeling okay? Did Jesus really appear to him on the road to Emmaus? If so, that means … wait …
He really was the Son of God! The Messiah!
“As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, ‘Peace to you!’ But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.”- Luke 24:36–37 ESV).
Can you imagine being in mid-sentence when you feel someone standing behind you, but everyone who was in the room when you arrived is right in front of you? Can you picture the hilarity of the moment? Can you imagine them falling backwards, knocking over furniture, and hiding behind each other? There is nothing Jesus could have said or done to prevent them from freaking out.
“It’s a ghost! A spirit! Wait, is that YOU, Jesus?”
Jesus knew the distress they carried after His crucifixion, like an awkward carry-on at the airport. So when He reappeared as quickly as he had vanished upon breaking the bread in Emmaus, He immediately calmed their fears and spoke three words … Peace to you.
The proclamation of peace often denotes the absence of aggression, animosity and estrangement. It was what they needed in that moment. Of all the emotions encircling them, doubt had to be the most pervasive. Jesus was in a tomb for three days, was raised to life, spoke three words to the disciples, and in an instant – all hope was restored.
Peace became an eternal birthright in the resurrection of Jesus. The Prince of Peace became the living, breathing, resurrected embodiment of every prophetic utterance, declaring His identity and purpose. Even though humankind had fallen out of favor time and time again, God had desired peace since Adam and Eve chose knowledge over relationship.
Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
– Isaiah 48:18, ESV, Emphasis Added
No one expected peace would be perfected through great violence, the humiliation and torture of a sinless man, even though it was prophesied by Isaiah 700 years earlier.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
– Isaiah 53:5, ESV, Emphasis Added
- Yet there He was, peace personified, comforting them with the same comfort Joseph gave his brothers in Genesis 43:23.
- It was the same greeting given to Gideon upon confirming his call. Peace to you. Shalom.
- Peace was spoken over homes (Luke 10:5-6),
- Spoken to sinners (Luke 7:50),
- It was a common greeting and a familiar farewell.
- To promote peace removed yourself from the insatiable tyranny of the fallen world and reacquainted you with the world before sin reared its ugly head.
- To live in peace is to be transported to Eden when all things were good.
When you think of Easter, don’t just dwell on the crucifixion. Don’t linger too long on the abuse, the suffering, or the nail scarred hands. Instead, dwell on the moment Jesus appeared behind locked doors to His disciples. Dwell on the words He spoke, the words we should live. Shalom. Peace to you.
This post-resurrection appearance seems so similar to the moment Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples to walk in their newfound authority, placing the enemy under their feet as they proclaimed the name of Jesus.
“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you” (Luke 10:5-6 ESV).
The peace offered here is not a feeling. It’s not an ethereal notion, not a euphoric absence of strife. No, peace in this scenario is the proactive realization of messianic salvation. If the homeowner is a believer, a person in harmonic alignment with the mission of the gospel, they will receive the incredible blessing of peace. They can, however, choose to reject the peace offering.
Do you think this moment resonated with the disciples?
Surely there had to have been a couple of disciples who were part of the seventy-two standing in the room behind a locked door never expecting to see Jesus again. Now Jesus was standing in their midst extending the very same blessing, the very same gift of grace for them to accept or reject.
Peace. The Prince of Peace now offered a blessing that would carry them through persecution, fear and doubt. He extended a gift, something money could not buy and fame could not settle. He was presenting the unforced, unearned, gift of peace to a room full of followers who had been persecuted, feared man, and doubted the validity of their Savior when they saw Him die on the cross.
In the moment they did not need financial security or a lecture from a pulpit. Their minds were in turmoil. They had lost their shepherd, and they no longer knew where to graze to nourish their souls.
As a follower of Jesus, in any given season, you possess the ability to receive or reject the gift of peace. Knowing the Savior means you are in a position to receive tranquility, amity and contentment in His presence. Easter signifies a moment when the chastisement cast upon Him gave birth to the exact opposite of all the chastisement carried upon His frame. Peace.
Peace to you.
- If you are experiencing strife, peace to you.
- If you are navigating a severed relationship and unforgiveness, peace to you.
- If you are stepping into a new season filled with unexpected blessings, peace to you.
- If you are filled with doubt, peace to you.
- If you are full of faith, peace to you.
- If you are alone, broken, hurting, and feel like no one cares, peace to you.
- If you are battling addiction, peace to you.
- If you are uncertain where your family stands with Jesus, peace to you.
- If you aren’t sure you can stand to see tomorrow, peace to you.
Jesus did not suffer and die on the cross for you to live a strife-filled life. He did not give himself up for you to dread every morning and lament every night. And Jesus did not return for shock value. He didn’t try to prove them wrong, touting the “I told you so” face as He shook His head disapprovingly. No, He looked at them lovingly, perhaps with a partial smile, echoing the feeling of reconciliation and love, as He offered the greatest gift outside of the confirmed revelation of His Sonship. Peace.
This is not only a season where we remember the resurrected Son of God. It is also a season when we cling to the fulfilled promise of peace that can only come through regenerate freedom. We desire peace and it is okay to strive for its benefits (Hebrews 12:14). God desires that we all walk in abounding peace. In fact, He sent His Son to die for our sins so that which was once unattainable would rest on us.
Perhaps Paul referenced this peace in his infamous manifesto, “…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13, ESV).
This Easter, may you also proclaim the blessing of Jesus to those around you. May you greet people with the same grace afforded to you. Peace. Perhaps you’ll even choose to repeat Paul’s blessing found in Thessalonians:
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all”– (2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV).
No cross, grave, suffering or locked door could keep Jesus from giving you this moment of peace. It’s yours to take.
Peace to you.
Read the first post in this blog series The After Road: Part 1: A seven-mile walk toward profound revelation.