To describe life as bleak and gloomy would have been an understatement. For the followers of Jesus the future seemed completely hopeless. Their Master had been put to death.
Then the Bible states: “On the evening of the first day of the week Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you'” (John 20:19). What the disciples needed more than anything was reassurance and peace of mind and heart.
To that greeting Jesus added a significant gesture: He showed them His hands and side, the hands that had been wounded by the nails at His crucifixion, the side that had been pierced by the spear of the Roman soldier. The gesture was a sign of identification, but it also carries another message. It speaks about the basis, the foundation upon which the peace of Jesus is built, the peace which He offers to His followers. It speaks of the price at which that peace was bought.
We are promised the peace of Jesus, founded on His perfect work, His life, death and resurrection. What a foundation! Nothing can shake it!
When a Christian lives daily in the atmosphere of constant trust and obedience, he will experience the blessing of our Lord’s peace. The Apostle Paul wrote:
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Col. 3:15). The word translated “rule” could also be rendered “to be a referee.” So when a Christian is in difficulty or a dilemma, it is his privilege to call on the peace of Christ to be the referee of his troubled heart.
“Peace be with you,” was the greeting Jesus gave His fearful disciples. In fact, He uttered those words twice. When He repeated the greeting, He added a commission: “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you” (John 20:21).
The peace He offered His followers was not given for their selfish enjoyment. A great task awaited them. They were to be His witnesses to the world. Most of them would be martyred for His sake. In order to be strong and faithful they needed a stabilizing force in their lives. They needed His own peace, the peace that filled His own heart, in life’s varied testings.
The peace of Christ, won through a fierce battle, is promised to His followers for the battle against evil, the battle for the kingdom of God. Let us open our hearts and lives and receive the gift of His peace, and then fearlessly go forth with the good news: Jesus lives and saves!
Jarl Wahlström, The War Cry