Peace Be With You

Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. (John 20:19-20)

Jesus had been crucified, was dead and buried. John records that the disciples were behind locked doors for fear of the religious authorities. Then Jesus, having risen from the dead and bypassing their security system, suddenly appears in their midst. And the first word out of his mouth is “peace.”

Peace is like gold—the scarcer it is, the more valuable it becomes. As we watch in horror as the war in Ukraine claims many lives and uproots countless more, we are reminded of how easy it is to take peace for granted.

We’re also reminded how fragile this world’s peace is. In the context of the Last Supper with his disciples, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives” (John 14:27).

This world offers a peace that is easily lost—whether by a tyrannical world leader, an Internet data breach, an unexpected medical test result, or a broken relationship. But Jesus offers a peace that can never be taken away—the peace of knowing that God forgives and accepts us, and that Jesus has defeated death for us.

The Hebrew word for peace is “Shalom.” It refers not just to the absence of conflict, but to a state of wellbeing—physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational. It includes peace within people, peace between people, and most importantly, peace with God. This is the kind of peace that Jesus came to bring.

John points out that it was after Jesus spoke peace to his disciples that he showed them his hands and side. His hands bore the marks of the nails; his side the spear. These were not indications of an incomplete miracle; they were physical signs to prove to the disciples that the one who stood before them really was Jesus, and that he had in fact risen from the dead.

The peace that Jesus speaks of can never be understood apart from the marks on his hands and side. It’s because he suffered and died for our sins that we can have peace when we trust in him. The Apostle Paul wrote: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

This is the peace that is most precious of all. It’s the peace that came at the greatest cost. It’s the peace that is promised to those who believe in Jesus. It’s because of him and him alone that we can confidently say to one another this Easter and all year, “Peace be with you.”

Pastor Jonathan Kroeker