Peace unlike any other
Mark G. Schroeder
It was Sunday evening. They sat behind locked doors and shuttered windows, fearful that the same enemies who had killed their master and friend would come looking for those who had followed him.
Added to their fear was the lingering horror of what they had experienced in the days before. They recalled how they fled all too quickly when he was arrested in Gethsemane. They had watched as he was beaten and whipped. They cringed at the sound of the hammer blows that nailed him to a cross. They tried not to look as the cross was raised, bearing the one whose words had filled their ears with calls to repentance, with assurances of God’s grace, and with patient instruction about what he had come to do.
With their fear and with their troubled memories of those events also came confusion. Some of their friends had gone to his tomb that morning and found it empty. Others spoke of angels who announced that their friend and master was not dead but very much alive. Still others reported that Jesus had appeared to them, spoken with them, ate with them. What did it all mean? Could it really be true? What was in store for them?
That Sunday night, they were given answers to their questions. Jesus came to them. His greeting said it all: “Peace be with you.” In place of guilt and fear and confusion, the living Savior gave his disciples the kind of peace that only he could give. He gave them the peace of sins forgiven; the peace that came from knowing their Savior accomplished exactly what he had come to do; the peace of knowing that with the greatest enemy of all defeated and disgraced, no enemy could harm them or tear them from the protecting arms of their victorious Savior.
The words of Jesus to his first disciples are words that he still speaks to us. They are words that lift the guilt from the hearts of sinners who all too often run away from their Savior. They are words that remind us that the horrible things Jesus suffered were all for the purpose of saving and redeeming us from what we deserve. They are words that dispel any confusion we may have about who we are, what God has done for us, and what future awaits us. They are words that set the stage and lay the foundation for us, just as it did for his first disciples, to set out on the mission he has given us a mission to trust, a mission to worship, a mission to serve, and a mission to proclaim.
Many things still threaten to bring horror, fear, and confusion into our lives. Watch the evening news. Listen to the voices of popular culture. See the effects of sin as lives are destroyed and families are shattered. Look into your own heart and your own life to see the corrosive and destructive power of sin. We have every reason to sit huddled in fear, paralyzed with guilt, uncertain of the future.
But then we hear those same words. “Peace be with you!” With those words the same living and victorious Savior comforts our horrified hearts, drives away our fear, and replaces our confusion with faith-filled understanding. And, just as he did with those first believers, he sends us out into a world, holding on to his words and promises, rejoicing in his victory that has become our victory, and proclaiming the same peace to sinners that the Savior has proclaimed to us.
That is peace unlike any other.
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Author: Mark G. Schroeder
Volume 102, Number 4
Issue: April 2015
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