A Reflection on John 20: Peace Be With You

Earlier in the book of John (John 16), Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to be taken away to be crucified. He tells them that even though they will have tribulation in this world, they can have peace knowing Jesus has overcome the world. At the time, the disciples didn’t understand that Jesus’ way of overcoming the world was not through war conquest, and subjugation. It was through dying and absorbing the penalty of the sins of the world. It was through willingly having the wrath of God poured out on him. It was by overcoming death by raising himself up from the grave. Jesus tells his disciples that he told them these things so that in him they may have peace.

After Jesus is killed, we find the disciples hiding in a room with the door locked (John 20). Not only were they probably angry, sad, and confused that this man who was supposed to be their savior had been killed, but they were also terrified they would be found out to be followers of Jesus and they would be killed as well.

Then Jesus shows himself to the disciples in this room. I found it interesting that Jesus says, “Peace be with you,” to the disciples twice. The first time, I think, is because the disciples were probably a little freaked out thinking, “Who is this guy, and how did he get into our room?” They were startled because they were already on edge. The second time though, I believe he was reminding them of what he said before in John 16. It was like he was saying, “What more do you have to fear now that I have overcome sin and death? Your guilt is removed. Your mistake-riddled life is redeemed. Your sin is atoned for.”

There is a lot more that happens in John 20, but those words, “Peace be with you,” were the words that really stuck with me. Even when the world seems to have fallen apart, even when the world is against you, even when everything you thought to be true seems to be unraveling, there is still peace to be found in Jesus.

Photo by Aaron Burdenon Unsplash