SPOKEN PRAYER: Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.
Peace for the Unworthy
by Dave Mann
This passage describes the first time that the resurrected Christ appears to the ten disciples. Judas has already left and hung himself, and we know from a later passage that Thomas is not present. Mary Magdalene has encountered Jesus in the garden. Peter and John have already seen the empty tomb, but this is the first time that the disciples have seen Jesus face to face after the resurrection.
The doors are locked, out of fear that the same ignominious death might be for them. And then, Jesus appears. He doesn’t knock; he doesn’t open the door. He just appears.
The disciples have multiple reasons to be ashamed and afraid. One of them has betrayed Jesus. All of them have abandoned Jesus when he needed them. Peter, their leader, has denied him. Now, there are rumors that the tomb is empty, and this Jesus appears to them miraculously. They have seen his miraculous power to heal all manner of diseases. But rising from the dead after having been grotesquely crucified? And passing through walls? And they have been unfaithful to him? What will he say to us? What will he do to us?
Jesus’ word to his disciples, not once but twice, is "Peace be with you." Oh! Relief! Joy! Numerous times in his ministry, Jesus had promised peace. (See John 14:27 and 16:33 just to start.) But does Jesus really mean that he gives us peace even though we don’t deserve it? Absolutely. Draw near and receive.
Jesus brings us peace in at least three ways.
Jesus brings peace between us and himself. Despite the disciples’ failures, which we unfortunately imitate, Jesus speaks peace to us. No shame, no blame. Come, be reconciled.
Jesus brings peace between us and the Father. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross, justice has been served. We are made right with our holy God. (See Romans 5:1.)
Jesus brings peace between us and other believers. Despite the many cultural differences – despite the sin and hurt by which we offend others – Jesus brings forgiveness for us and through us toward others. (See Ephesians 3:14 & 17.)
Come, believe the gospel.
Jesus, I don’t deserve to receive your gift of peace, but you bring it, nonetheless. I am eternally grateful. Allow me to walk with you in confidence that you have made me right. Only in Jesus! Amen