Apr. 24, 2012
While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
When you have been away from a loved one for awhile, it is great to anticipate reuniting with the loved one.
Rick’s work schedule is such that he works four nights in a row. Because of commute time and the necessity of adequate sleep, we’ve made the decision for him to stay at his folks during his work week. This also allows him to help them remain in their home.
This is our weekly routine. Rick leaves after Sunday church and does not come home until sometime on Thursday. While we talk on the phone, there is something about those first words when we get to see each other again. I’m usually being awoken in the early morning hours from sleep when Rick gets home. He’s usually dog tired. But we almost always share a few words so I know he is home. I find it most touching when he calls me one of his pet names for me.
The disciples have been holed up in a small room, trying to make sense of the last awful few days. The women showed up early Sunday morning and said Jesus was alive. But the men didn’t believe them. On Sunday night, two close friends ran back from Emmaus and told this unbelievable story. Jesus walked with them to their village as a stranger. It wasn’t until Jesus broke bread they realized it was him. And then he vanished.
Now, the disciples have no reason to doubt Jesus’ resurrection. He comes into their presence and stands with them. What would we expect his first words to be? “Look! It’s me!” or “Just believe them. Their story is for real.” Or “Hey dudes, what you doing?”
But Jesus does not pull attention to himself. He thinks of the disciples and their traumatic days. He simply wants to comfort them. He says, “Peace be with you.”
Peace. Is peace obtainable? Do we want peace? Can our lives be filled with peace? I think for most people, our responses would be, “Yes, yes and yes.”
The question becomes, “Where do we find peace?” Momentary peace can be found in a variety of places. Close our eyes and think of nothing. A relaxing bike ride. The touch of a loved one’s fingers gliding across your skin. For me, a lovely bubble bath.
But these are short-term windows of peace. Long-term peace comes only from one source: the loving arms of Jesus. This is what Jesus wants the disciples … and us … to discover. When we are troubled and doubts rise in our minds (look at the scripture passage; we’ve got good company), may we run back into Jesus’ loving arms. This is the source of true peace.
Let us pray: When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.” It is well with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul. Amen.