Perfect Peace, Perfect Comfort – 22 April 2020
By Louise Gevers
Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”After He said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. John 20:19-20
“Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!” is our glad Easter shout, a far cry from the first disciples as they were huddled together on that first Easter evening. Jesus had been crucified and they were ‘locked down’ together, for fear of reprisals from the Jewish authorities. They were living in anxious uncertainty, like many people today.
Deep down the disciples needed to see Jesus. Nobody would have been more aware of the mixture of emotions that were ravaging their hearts and minds.They were grieving; regret and guilt hung over them as they remembered how each one of them had let Him down in some way before His trial. They longed for Him, but what could they expect from Him, when their good intentions had so quickly disappeared in the face of threat and danger? What sense could they make of all they were hearing from Mary, Peter and John? What were those things that He’d told them before He died? If only they had paid more attention!
Then He appeared!
Jesus’ greeting breathed wholeness, relief and freedom from fear and strain into their troubled hearts. Never before would this greeting have held such significance for the disciples as it did then and it delighted their wondering and wandering hearts. He was there with them!
Jesus’ very presence showed them that He cared and understood their needs. He was alive and had come to reassure them in their time of fear and dread. He held nothing against them. His blessing poured new life into them as He gave them hope. He brought them His peace as He had promised: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give it to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. You heard me say,’I am going away and I am coming back to you’ … I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” (John 14:27-29)
So often in this world we encounter expressions of longing, or of wishes, but only Jesus’ peace is real and present, the substance of fulfilment, beyond the longing or the wish. Jesus works through ” … perfect love (that) drives out fear …” (1 John 4:18) This transformed the small and frightened band of disciples, giving them hope to break free from that which held them down, and to push through. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they could go onward and do the work that He gave them to do, so that we are able to receive that same Word of Peace today, with the same consequences! Hallelujah! Christ is risen!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, when things shake us up and our hearts beat rapidly, thank You that we have You to turn to, our perfect peace. Amen