Peace Be With You
2nd Sunday of Easter:
Readings: Genesis 8: 6-16, 9:8-16
1 Peter 1:3-9
John 20: 19-31
The Gospel today begins on Easter. If we recall the life of Christ- He taught, healed the sick, fed the hungry, raised the dead. The religious leaders were jealous of Him because they weren’t doing anything for the people except to keep them in slavery to the Law. They did not like what Christ was doing and made false charges against Him. When Christ was apprehended without cause and put to trial, they even influenced the people to choose Barabbas, a known, hardened criminal to be set free. Jesus was scorned, beaten and left very weak physically. Here was a man who was doing good, and the people (the very same ones who welcomed Him with palm leaves), were shouting, “crucify Him!” The disciples were in hiding all this time except John who witnessed the crucifixion.
On the third day, Jesus resurrected, as He promised. The first thing He did when he was raised to life was to journey to Emmaus, where he met two people who did not recognize Him. He stayed a while with the two in the village and when He broke bread, it was the only time they recognized Him. Then Jesus disappeared and the two ran to tell the disciples about Jesus. That it was true He was alive. The disciples were all in fear when Jesus appeared before them in the room. It was the day after the Jewish Sabbath. And the first thing He said was, “Peace be to you.” The disciples were in fear and Jesus told them, “Let not your heart be troubled.” Jesus came to them in peace. He did not come in anger. He never talked about how He suffered, how the Roman soldiers treated Him and beat Him. He came in peace, the kind of peace that is far beyond all human comprehension. No bitterness, no anger. He went through all the sufferings and yet there was no condemnation for the people who hurt Him. His whole life was concern for the people – restoration, reconciliation
And He was giving peace instead. God loves Israel. The Jews went through hell during the Holocaust. But in 1948, they were given their own country. Israel became a nation. Today, it is a gold mine. The richest and most prosperous businessmen in the 1st World countries are Jews.
The whole purpose of Jesus’ coming was now coming to light. He was with His disciples for three years. He lived with them, ate with them, taught them everything about the things of God, practiced what He preached, and He breathed life on them. The life that was taken away he now gives back to us. Jesus said, “As the Father had sent me, so sent I, you.” We cannot afford to have hatred in our lives but love. He came back to give, to love. Not to complain or murmur. 1 John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” This should be the very essence of our lives. Have we not seen His miracles? Have we not experienced Him working in our lives? Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” When the fear was taken away, came life from that room because of love. He came to give us life. He not only delivered us from sin, He gave us life. Too often we become moved with what we see around us. But the truth is, God is love. And God loves us. The church should be in unity, not be divided. God has blessed us with so much we need to give Him all the glory and honor. He is not limited by time. A thousand days to Him is one day and one day is a thousand days.
While it is so easy to become irritated, we bring love instead, not condemnation. God has empowered us with His power. He gave us the Holy Spirit. The Spirit in us will quicken our mortal flesh. May God’s spirit be the most important part of our lives.