Peace be with you, Christ is Risen!
Today, we are ten days past Easter Sunday. At this point Jesus would have still been on this earth with his disciples. According to many witnesses Jesus is truly risen, this is not a fact that was hidden or leaves us with much doubt. In Luke 24:36-49 I am struck by Jesus’ appearance before his disciples as he says, “Peace be with you.” Initially in the eyes of the disciples there was room for doubt. They had seen Jesus’ death, and when the women found the tomb empty they thought it was nonsense. They had lost their leader, and their way. Peace felt distant or gone due to Jesus’ death. However they are Jesus’ greatest witnesses.
As Jesus stands before them, he asks why they are troubled and full of doubts. Jesus shows them great grace and mercy. They were startled and frightened as if Jesus was a ghost, so he had them touch his hands and feet that were pierced saying, “Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
At this they feel a rush of joy and amazement, perhaps due to shock they still are not able to believe, so Jesus asks for something to eat, which leads him to eat fish in front of them.
Now Jesus reminds the disciples, just like the angels did for the women, how everything needed to be fulfilled about the Messiah according to the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Or to put another way, Jesus is saying, “Everything in the Old Testament that was written about the Messiah I had to do and I did.” The biggest one was that “the Messiah had to suffer, and then rise from the dead on the third day, so that repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Jesus is that Messiah who suffered and rose again and now offers repentance. He then calls his disciples witnesses to all of this.
My prayer for us is that we can have peace be with us. In life, there can be a lot of death, destruction, sin and darkness, things that leave us troubled and filled with doubt. Where can we go to find peace? I believe Jesus offers us this peace everyday. Jesus suffered completely, to the point of death, he is able to walk with us, like no one else can. Now he might not appear to us like the disciples, but that is why he called them to be his witnesses to the world. The peace offered in Jesus’ suffering and resurrection is that of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. I hope that we can witness this peace in our lives, so that we can be a witness to the nations like Jesus calls us, too. My prayer when we share this peace is not to share our perfection, no, but that we might share how Jesus’ perfection is shaping our imperfections into a way where peace is with us.