19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Judean authorities, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
This is one of the sweetest verses in the scriptures. Into these shattered and confused lives Christ comes bringing peace. The doors are locked in a society that didn’t lock doors, that didn’t even close doors. What happened in secret was shameful. Closed doors created suspicion. But the disciples are in fear. Fear, because no one stamps out a movement only by stamping out one leader, they go after all in the inner circle. Fear, because the tomb is empty and desecrating a tomb by stealing the body is a capital crime. If they are accused of stealing the body… Fear, because they don’t know what’s going on. Fear, because there is this report that Jesus is risen and they know not what to make of it. They don’t know what God is doing. They don’t know what the high priests are doing. They don’t know what the Romans are doing. They are not plotting anything in secrecy behind closed doors; they are just afraid.
And then Christ is there. Not a ghost. Not an apparition. A living presence. With wounds. Saying “Peace.” Bringing peace.
Jesus comes. It is the character of God to come, to draw near, to visit, to abide with us. The God who walked through the garden in the cool of the evening is a God who dwells among the people in a tabernacle and in a temple. The God who rescued slaves dwelt among them. The Living God is born among us, and called Immanuel, “God with us”. It is God’s nature to draw near to us. It is God’s nature to come to us.
And the risen Christ who comes brings peace. He stills our panicking hearts. He calms the stormy sea. He stills the waves. He silences the demonic. In Jesus’ presence, the Gerasene demoniac is restored to his right mind, clothed, sitting at Jesus feet. He speaks peace. He breathes peace.
The one who calls Mary by name calls us by name. Like a lover who calms the beloved with his or her name. Like a parent who infuses a child in the chaos of a tantrum with his or her calm embrace, helping the child to breathe. Restoring us to sanity.
Peace. Peace to our hearts. Peace to our homes. Peace to our world. “Be still and know that I am God.”
Whatever the Romans may do, whatever the Jerusalem authorities may do, whatever life has brought or may yet bring, Christ is risen. Christ is with us. Christ is our peace.
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”