Jesus said to her, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'” Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,”  ( John 20:17-18)

Mary did as she was told but she was just one person telling a frightened huddle of men that the consequence of a crucifixion had just been reversed. Crucifixion was Rome, getting in the final word. Death, in brutal form, was final proof that the emperor’s power was supreme. But what about Mary’s report? Perhaps she was overcome by emotions and wishful thinking?

Jesus had taught them, a disciple is not greater than his teacher. They had good cause to anticipate their own eminent deaths. While they were worrying and wondering what they had got themselves into, Jesus just materializes before their eyes! While amazement was competing with terror in their hearts, Jesus is audacious enough to say, “Peace be with you.” 

While Jesus may be big on peace He is also a major disrupter. Peace that masquerades as the status quo flees before Him! It is a given; things do not remain the same where Jesus is involved. Our passage highlights this reality.

The disciples had been gainfully employed only a short time ago. Like all Jews, they hoped for a Messiah; they hoped for the redemption of Israel but each day unfolded pretty much like the previous one. However, for the past three years, each new day had been an adventure. They were daily privileged, with Jesus, to see what God was like and how He related to men. Like Adam and Eve, they were again walking in unhindered view and relationship with God. Unfortunately, their eyes could not yet see. While in the immediate presence of God, they were pining for something else – a new golden age of Judaism which Jesus would usher in – with their assistance.

Visions of a royal court had evaporated though. They were now fugitives because their imagined Messiah had just been murdered. They had lost their best friend. Their dreams were now crushed because the so-called Son of Man was not powerful enough to overcome the regime of Rome and the blindness of Israel. They were stark barren of peace. The system, as usual, had won. In the unseen realm, Death too, was gloating over his most recent conquest. And to make matters worse (if that were possible), their lives were endangered because of their association with a man, who claimed greater authority than Caesar himself.

I believe all followers of Christ, at some point, will wonder, as they inventory their disrupted lives, “What have I got myself into! What kind of God would lead me into circumstances so heartbreaking and dangerous then say, “Peace be with you?” Are you kidding! Those who take Jesus’ words seriously have a deep mystery to contend with concerning peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and He says, “Peace be with you” but he also said, “Do not think I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword“. He also said,

Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:24) 

How many people have invited Jesus into their hearts on the premise that He had a wonderful plan for their lives only to come to a place of total bewilderment as they took stock of the not-so-wonderful ways this plan was working itself out? In the midst of the disciple’s current wonderful circumstances, Jesus shows up and says,

Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you. Receive the Holy Spirit…Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed…These things have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

All regimes covet the final word but Jesus is that Word to His brethren. He reserves the right to ask us to trust in His presence and receive His peace even when it seems ludicrous. As it was with the original 12, our views of what He is actually doing are often flawed. The Prince of Peace must come and disrupt any shallow peace anchored in our own delusions. He reserves the right to even break our hearts if necessary to liberate us and disentangle us from this world.  He knows and wants us to also know …

Make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. (Luke 12:33) 

As I reflect on God’s words, and the experiences of the saints, I hear Him saying …

Peace be with you. As you work out your salvation in the midst of various trials, go in My authority as heralds of abundant life. Be the good news! Let your light shine before men by trusting in My presence, acknowledging that earthly regimes will not have the final word. Announce that neither they nor death shall prevail. You My Bride, are My final words to this earth. I intend that your story of peace, that transcends all understanding, be written in the presence of this unbelieving world. I intend that your lives be read so that others may see and believe that I am the Christ, that they too will find peace and life in My name. 

Father, do what You must to adjust our vision. Give us eyes to see Your kingdom. In the midst of our circumstances, whatever they may be, may we glorify You by living in supernatural peace, joy and love. For Your name’s sake, let it be.

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