Jesus’s resurrection is the beginning of God’s new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. (N.T. Wright)
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22; context)
The peace that Jesus brings the disciples is a standard greeting and so much more. It is a greeting like “Shalom” or “Salaam” are today. It is also an antidote for fear. Think about the disciples on that day of the Resurrection. They are afraid, confused, uncertain. And into these things, Jesus comes and says, “Peace be with you.” He comes to them even though the door is barricaded. He comes to them even though three days earlier he had died an excruciating death on the cross. He comes to them even though they aren’t expecting him, even though they haven’t understood what he told them about who he is. And when Jesus gives them peace, their fear turns into joy.
But let’s not stop there: let’s go a level deeper. When the Risen Christ offers the disciples peace, he is also offering them “the abiding presence of God.” This is how a friend of mine described what “peace” means to her, and I adore her definition. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict. Peace is “the abiding presence of God.” Peace happens when we tune ourselves to God’s abiding presence. Peace happens when we resonate with God’s movement in our lives. Peace happens when we discover the inner serenity that God provides in the midst of the maelstrom of activity that marks our lives today.
And “Peace” is also a mission, which is why Jesus sends the disciples out with Peace on his lips and his breath filling their lungs. As the spiritual descendents of the disciples, we have the same mission. So let’s bring the peace of God into every handshake, every embrace, every nod of the head, every greeting we participate in today and everyday.