2 Samuel 18:1-18; John 20:19-31; Psalms 119:137-152; Proverbs 26:21-22
NT: “When it was evening on that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because they feared the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Having said this, he showed them his hands and his side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (called “Twin” ), one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came… A week later his disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.” Thomas responded to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:19-24, 26-31 CSB)
Both times that Jesus appeared to His disciples, He told them, “Peace be with you.” Peace (eirene in the Greek) is tranquility, harmony, safety, prosperity, and an exemption from turmoil. There is so much in this passage that underlies that message of peace. First of all, peace comes from being involved in the Father’s will. Jesus told His disciples (which is considered John’s portion of the great commission), “As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” The Father send Jesus the Son to 1) represent and bear witness to The Father, 2) reconcile lost people to The Father, and 3) glorify The Father. Jesus has sent us to do the same, and as we do that, we will have peace. Secondly, Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Many people confuse this scene in the Bible with the baptism with the Holy Spirit. This is not the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. This is Jesus breathing to life His new creation. In Genesis 2:7, God breathed the breath of life into the man that He created, and the man became a living being. In Ezekiel 37, Ezekiel had a vision of a valley of dry bones that were brought together and formed into a massive army – but it wasn’t until the corpses received the breath of life that they came alive. Jesus, the Second Adam and the Son of God breathed the breath of life into His disciples and they came alive spiritually and were made new in Christ… they were the beginnings of a vast army of men and women who were once dead in their sins but are now alive in Christ. This new life in Christ brings the fullness of peace. Thirdly, Jesus instructed His disciples to forgive. He also said that if we do not forgive, then the unforgiven sins are retained… but retained by whom? They are retained by the one who refuses to forgive. For us to be at peace, we must be people that forgive. Then lastly, Jesus spoke to Thomas about believing. Everyone gives Thomas a bad rap, which is undeserved. None of the disciples believed that Jesus had risen until they saw Him. Thomas was the only disciple brave enough to be out and about while all the other disciples were locked away in fear. The disciples needed to see Jesus… they needed to be eyewitnesses… for our sakes. The claim that Jesus had risen bodily was such an outrageous claim, Thomas needed to see and touch Jesus himself to make sure it wasn’t just wishful thinking or merely an apparition of Jesus. When he saw and had the opportunity to touch, Thomas believed and He continued believing until he died a martyr’s death many years later, for spreading the gospel message and being a witness of Jesus’ resurrection all the way to India. By believing in Jesus and in His resurrection, we have peace. Then John, to nail that point home, explained the entire reason he wrote this gospel was so that we would believe and would find life in Jesus’ name. As Jesus said, Peace be with you.