Jesus, help me to
Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, â€œPeace be with you.â€ Then he said to Thomas, â€œPut your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.â€
Jesus is here; right now saying, â€œPeace be with you.â€
The world challenges our faith constantly. As we discussed on Easter, the guards at the tomb had a choice. Would they declare the truth or take the bribe and ignore what really happened? We can imagine that having seen what had happened, taking the bribe was not going to be quite satisfactory. Truth has a way of pushing against our consciences â€“ prompting us to moments where we cannot be peaceful.
Jesus is the reality of heavenly perfection, grace, and truth intersecting with earth. In saying, â€œPeace be with you.â€ Jesus is giving a blessing, reassurance, and an instruction to His followers.
The blessing of peace is not a blessing that protects us from all earthly harm or sadness â€“ after all, the apostles all faced struggles, imprisonment, and almost all were martyred for the faith. Jesusâ€™ peace overcame the apostlesâ€™ post-crucifixion sadness and remained with them. For us, His blessing of peace surpasses understanding. It is greater than anything we might face. His peace is given to us and is something we own; it is ours forever. His peace is constant and remains with us regardless of what we have faced, have done, will face, or will do. Not even the very depths of pain and sadness can overcome His peace if we believe.
Jesusâ€™ peace is reassuring. The apostles did some pretty horrible things â€“ they abandoned Him, denied Him, were unsure of Him, and may have very well lost all faith in Him. They sit in a locked room, afraid. His peace is their reassurance of forgiveness. We sin in big and small ways â€“ yet Jesus is always prepared to welcome us back and impart His peace if we believe.
The instruction is that His peace will be with us if we acknowledge the truth â€“ the truth of that intersection between heaven and earth. The truth that God sacrificed His Son for us and because of His obedience raised Him from the dead. The truth that, by an act of faith, those regenerated in the waters of baptism were buried with Christ so that they may rise with Him.
When we are faced with challenges, when we fail in sin and error, when we are confronted by the doubt and denial so active in the world, let us recognize the gift of peace Jesus gave us. If we, like the guards, do not feel peaceful then something is wrong in our belief and how we see. Let us â€œnot be unbelieving, but believeâ€ and have His peace.