I was just spending time with Jesus in John 20. This chapter shows us what happened to some of those who loved Jesus on the day of his resurrection. Mary Magdalene had gotten up early that Sunday morning to go to the tomb where Jesus’ body was placed. When she got to the tomb, she noticed that the stone had been rolled away and the body had been taken (even the wording of that verse shows that she did not believe that Jesus was alive at this point). So she took off running to tell his disciples.
She found Simon Peter and John. On hearing the news, they took off running for the tomb. John, the younger of the two, outran Peter (showing that John had a little bit of a competitive spirit in him since he made sure to mention this in his gospel account), stopped at the tomb and looked in. Simon Peter showed up after John, but went right in to the tomb to see for himself. After they went in, seeing the linen strips lying there by themselves, with the garment that covered Jesus’ face folded in a different spot, they went home.
Mary Magdalene stayed there. And then Jesus showed up. She didn’t recognize him at first. Rather, she thought him to be the gardner and begged him to tell her where Jesus’ body was if he knew. And then the “gardner” said that one word that opened her eyes to the identity of the man before her. He simply said, “Mary.” He said her name and she knew it was Jesus.
After that, Jesus showed up in the room where his disciples (minus Judas Iscariot of course) were locked away in for fear of the religious leaders. While the doors were still locked, he just showed up. And his words:
They were dumbfounded at the sight of Jesus in the room with them. But isn’t that just like the miraculous? The miraculous always leaves us dumbfounded. Then the Bible says that the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. And Jesus’ first words to them were:
But Thomas missed out on all of this. He wasn’t there for this reunion with their beloved Rabbi. So when he came back from wherever he was, the disciples told him about what had just happened. His response: “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe” (John 20:25). So eight days later, Jesus answered his request. Jesus showed up, but had these words to say to him first:
Three times in the span of about eight verses, Jesus says, “Peace be with you.” I did a search for that phrase and saw that Jesus never used it before his death and resurrection as a greeting toward anyone. But here, in the chapter telling us of his first moments and week of his resurrection, he uses the phrase three times.
So I kept listening and journaling, and this verse came to my mind:
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1, ESV).
How did it feel for Jesus to use those words with that meaning? Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, peace with God is available. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I am good with God. So as Jesus said those words to his disciples, he was proclaiming a major truth: those who have surrendered to Christ have peace with God.
And that truth hit me so wonderfully this afternoon as I looked at those words. So much of my walk with God is trying to appease him, not truly accepting that I have peace with him. I have struggled with this truth for so long over the years. But today: those words rang loud and true. Jesus showed me this afternoon that I have peace with God. And not only that, God’s peace, through his Holy Spirit, is with me.
And I’m at peace.