On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” John 20:19-23
Today’s verses are very germane to the Christmas season. When Jesus was born the angels proclaimed peace on earth and good will to men. They were celebrating God’s peace which come down to earth and taken on the form of a baby. God’s peace was not just available back then, it is here for every believer. In times of trouble or pain it can envelope you in a way that is indescribable.
I have experienced this enveloping peace twice both times after a loved one died. The first time was when my mother-in-law, Margaret, had died and the second time when my dad died. When Margaret, Nana to the kids, died I was hurting for my wife and our three kids as well as my own loss. I was lucky in that Margaret did not fit any of the mother-in-law stereotypes. She was a great Christian lady whose company I enjoyed. But I really was in pain for Gail and the kids. They had lost a mother and grandmother. The night after the funeral we were all asleep when I awoke to a presence in the room. The presence brought me such a peace that I knew for certain that all would be ok and that Margaret was at peace with Jesus.
The second time was the day dad died. I was at my parent’s home going through papers and preparing to make funeral plans. In my busy work that day I had one burning question, was dad saved. I just could not get an answer. The as mom and I were starting to go through my dad’s papers in the cedar chest, right on top, were my dad’s baptismal papers. My dad had been baptized in 1957 along with two of my brothers. That papers 40 years old would be not only on top but the first I saw was amazing enough but the feeling I got next was unbelievable. Suddenly I knew, just knew that dad was with Jesus. The peace I felt was unimaginable. It gave me strength to finish the funeral plans an give dad’s eulogy
Now please do not misunderstand me, God’s peace is always with the believer but in our dad to day activities we tend to lose sight of it, I know I do. That is why quiet time is important. God usually does not shout at us, most times He speaks in a quiet steady voice and we can let our surroundings drown Him out. But when we need Him the most He is always there, ready to let His peace surround and support us. A peace that enables us to get through the tough times. A peace that lets us do amazing things. May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ.
Have a blessed day,