The risen Jesus said: “‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22).
What an enigmatic event! But why would Jesus give them his peace?
Many of their dreams had been dashed (or so they thought) because of the crucifixion. They were worried about being tracked down by the same people who had nailed Jesus to the cross. Plus, they were in shock. A corpse had come back to life! Peace was definitely needed.
But the biggest reason they could be at peace was because of what he had just accomplished on the cross. He had won peace between God and humanity. As the carol says: “God and sinners reconciled.”
The basis of that peace for them then continues to be the basis for our peace today.
On the surface this might seem heady. But it’s not. In addition to giving us the most precious gift one could ever receive, we are given a new and liberating perspective for our day-to-day scurryings.
The most important thing on the to-do list has already been crossed off that list by God: He has made a way for the rescue and healing for all people on the cross. Because of the enormity and importance of that accomplishment, all of the other things on our list pale in comparison. As a result, we can stress less.
And at the end of a long day, when everything plus the kitchen sink didn’t go as planned, and when you start to beat yourself up, maybe you just need to exhale and chill.
Did you mess up? Are you fighting with a friend? Are you not at your best? Are you behind on bills? Are you unsure about your job? Are you uncertain about tomorrow? Did you run out of time?
The most important thing on the to-do list has already been crossed off that list by God.
The man standing outside an empty tomb with death and fear under his feet, opens his arms, looks you in the eye, and says: “Peace be with you!”
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.