TO CHEW ON: "'Peace be with you....Peace to you!....Peace to you!'" John 20:19,21,26
The peace symbol of the 60s had a subversive message. The U.S. was at war with Vietnam at the time and the peace symbol was in many ways a protest against that war. You wore it around your neck or painted it on your VW as a way of saying you didn't like what your government was doing.
In a way Jesus' pronouncement of peace is just as subversive. He is saying, even though things look bad, even though you disciples have made yourselves some powerful enemies, everything is okay.
Why could He say that?
Because He had settled once and for all the sin issue for them and all mankind. The most important peace there is—peace with God—was now available for them, as it is available for us now.
We know that their lives after the resurrection were anything but peaceful outwardly. They were made fun of, called names, persecuted, arrested, driven from their homes. Yet from this time on the blessing and benediction of "Peace" is sprinkled throughout the New Testament (Ephesians 6:23; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; 1 Peter 5:14).
A lack of outward peace may also be our situation. But to us too, Jesus comes saying "Peace be with you! Peace to you... Peace to you." Why? Because we are completely secure in His love. Read what Paul says to the Christians in Rome:
"Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own?
No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:32-39 NLT
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for making a way for us to have peace with God. Help me to experience this peace at a heart level as I trust in You to work everything out in my life for Your good purposes.
MORE: '... a gracious benediction of peace"
"Are you looking unto Jesus now, in the immediate matter that is pressing and receiving from Him peace? If so, He will be a gracious benediction of peace in and through you. But if you try to worry it out, you obliterate Him and deserve all you get. We get disturbed because we have not been considering Him. When one confers with Jesus Christ the perplexity goes, because He has no perplexity, and our only concern is to abide in Him. Lay it all out before Him, and in the face of difficulty, bereavement and sorrow, hear Him say, "Let not your heart be troubled" - Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest August 26 reading.*****
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.