Daily Devotion – April 7, 2021 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

John 20:19-31
20:19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
20:20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
20:22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

In Jesus’s ministry he makes a point of extending peace to those he meets. He knows from growing up human that it is easy to get distracted and worried about a lot of things. But he also knows that if you extend peace to someone, both you and they slow down and have a genuine, almost tangible thing together – a feeling, almost a commodity – that makes whatever is happening clearer and more meaningful.

In this story the disciples were as un-peaceful as it is humanly possible to get. Their master had been executed and they were afraid they would be next. They were fearful and they were grief-stricken and they were hiding.

We can only begin to imagine (wouldn’t you have loved to have been there?) when Jesus suddenly appeared in that locked room, extended his peace to them, helped them to realize it was really their Lord, and then once again extended the peace. He was only doing what he had taught the disciples to do – but which, in their fear and grief, they had forgotten. Seek the Kingdom of God in all times and places. This is much easier to do when we are not distracted.

What would it be like if, wherever we went this week, we stood in the room and said “Peace be with you”? Would we be too self-conscious? But what if we tried it, especially in a place where a little chaos were breaking loose? I am going to try it, and then watch and see what happens. If you do it, too, maybe we can share stories.

Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for giving us your peace, which passes human understanding. Help us find times and places to extend the peace to others.  Amen.