Easter is my favourite time of the year! The chocolate eggs and hot cross buns (traditional fruit style only!) are fantastic, but it is the opportunity and time to reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus that always inspires me. It was at Easter time, sometime during the previous millennium, that I first accepted Jesus as my saviour, and as I read the accounts of the first Easter, I can’t help but to imagine my own reaction if I was there to witness the events.
We have the benefit of hindsight and knowing the full Easter story, but imagine the state of mind the disciples were in following the crucifixion of Jesus. They must have been at their lowest point. Many of those who followed Jesus had scattered, and his closest mates were living in fear and hiding behind closed doors. Their teacher, mentor and leader had been crucified. They had wanted to believe that Jesus could conquer all, but the mission seemed to be over. Was this the end? Would they now pack up and go home, or would they also be killed? The shock and despair following the death of Jesus must have been immense.
In John Chapter 20, we read that the disciples had found Jesus’ tomb empty. They had also heard Mary’s message that Jesus had risen. Could it be true or was Mary mistaken? The possibility of Jesus being alive seemed too good to be true. However, on the day Jesus rose from the dead, He appears to them with a message of peace.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” – John 20:19
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” – John 20:21
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” – John 20:26
What can we learn from Jesus’ message of peace?
1. Jesus gives peace to overcome our fears and worries
The disciples were facing an extremely stressful and emotional event. We read that the doors were locked as they bunkered down waiting for the worst. When we are challenged with the anxieties and worries of life, Jesus wants to give us peace. He desires to speak peace into all areas of our lives. Jesus’ peace transcends any circumstance we face and is beyond the emotions we have. Paul also reminds us of this in Philippians 4:6-7.
2. Jesus gives Peace so we can achieve his Purpose
Even while the disciples are huddled behind a locked door, Jesus tells them they are being sent out. Just like the disciples we are given a purpose by Jesus. Jesus’ peace inspires us to action. After putting our fears and worries into perspective he sends us out to achieve his purpose. The peace given to us gives us the confidence to move forward for his purpose.
During Easter we celebrate that God is with us! Christ has risen! As we rejoice in His victory over death may we all be inspired to share the good news of peace and new life with God. I pray that over the Easter break you will experience the rest, wholeness and confidence that comes with the peace that Jesus offers.