Peace be with you
Today’s Gospel we would like to share with you is Luke 24:36-48. Ever since Jesus was arrested and crucified on the cross, the disciples were dispersed, some of them even went into hiding for fear of being discovered by the Jews. Although the news of Jesus’ resurrection spread quickly afterwards and some disciples even saw Jesus with their own eyes or walked with Him on the road to Emmaus—some people did not believe and even questioned it. Jesus Christ then appeared to the disciples again and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Luke 24:36 NIV When they saw Jesus, they didn’t cheer for joy. Instead, they were panicked and frightened, because they thought what they saw was the ghost of Jesus. So, Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” Luke 24:38 In order to dispel the doubts of his disciples, Jesus showed them His hands and feet, and comforted them, “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.” Luke 24:39
He reiterated to his disciples, “You are witnesses of these things.”
In order to convince His disciples that He was really a living person, Jesus deliberately asked if they had anything to eat and ate a piece of grilled fish in front of them. He reiterated to his disciples, “You are witnesses of these things.” Luke 24:48 He then asked them to preach repentance in the name of the Lord for the forgiveness of sins, and spread the Gospel to all nations. At this point, we may feel that these disciples were useless. It is clear that Jesus Christ had told the disciples these things before, yet they did not remember; Jesus had already appeared to many of his disciples, yet many still questioned and were frightened.
Where would peace be for the disciples?
However, Jesus Christ seemed to understand all of this, hence the first sentence he said to them was, “Peace be with you.” In Chinese culture, peace has the meanings of stability, safety, and no danger—while in Jewish culture, besides peace, it has positive meanings of wholeness or completeness, harmony, welfare, and prosperity. In the midst of chaos, where would peace be for the disciples?
God is the source of shalom.
From the perspective of Jewish faith, God is the source of shalom. In the Old Testament, Judge Gideon built an altar for the Lord and named it Jehovah Shalom, which means “The Lord is Peace”. Judges 6:24 It can be interpreted that God is the source of peace, and peace is given by God. God’s willingness to give His peace to the world is based on a complete and beautiful relationship between Him and us as humans. But because of sins of humans—the relationship between humankind and God was broken.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.”
Jesus Christ is our advocate with God, who sacrificed Himself for our sins. When Jesus mentioned of peace, He meant to express that the rift between the disciples and God has been repaired. He chose to be with them not only because of His love for them, but also because He wanted them to feel the completeness of their relationship with God, to share God’s heavenly peace with them. Jesus once said to his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 He also comforted his disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” John 16:33 Jesus did not intend to remove the storms and dangers that His disciples were facing at the time or in the future, and certainly not bless them with peace and prosperity—He was, however, telling them that He will be with them along the way. Therefore, they will have peace through this completeness of the relationship, and thus face the world fearlessly.