15 April 2018Luke 24:36b-48 (Alive in Christ)
“Peace be with you.” (v. 36)
Psalm: Psalm 4
There are some extraordinary passages in the Bible and this ranks very highly! Jesus had, to all rational minds, been killed on the Friday once and for all. On the Sunday, Mary Magdalene and a number of other women had gone to the tomb, found it empty and then had a conversation with a couple of ‘angels’ about Jesus being raised from death (Luke 24:1-12). The women rushed to the disciples who, unsurprisingly, did not believe them. Later that night, two followers find the disciples in Jerusalem and report that they have met with the risen Lord, whilst on the way to Emmaus, a few miles away (Luke 24:13-26).
“While they were still talking about this”, and wouldn’t we all want to know exactly how that particular conversation was going, “Jesus himself stood among them” (v. 36). Extraordinary! Unbelievable!
“Peace be with you.” Those are the first words Jesus utters. What is the essence of the peace that Jesus bestows on them at this point? They are startled, frightened and quite clearly dumbfounded about this apparition, who turns out neither to be a vision nor a ghost, because Jesus is able to be touched and also able to eat food (verse 42). This is the resurrected Jesus, flesh and Spirit.
To be honest, I wonder how much of the ensuing conversation the disciples understood at the time. What was going on? How can this have possibly happened? “In their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering”(v. 41). I am not at all surprised that the disciples have no words attributed to them in the whole of this extraordinary meeting. All the words written in Luke’s account are the words of Jesus. What could the disciples possibly say?
The peace that Jesus gives to his disciples is actually the reassurance that, from now on, he will always be present. Such comfort is as true today as it was all those years ago. Knowing that Christ is alive in one’s life can be such a strength, giving all believers the ability to live courageously, knowing that they are accompanied by Christ. The Emmaus Road story of companionship moves excitingly into the disciples’ room in Jerusalem, and continues into daily life today wherever you hear the same words of peace.
Jesus is saying to each of us today, “Peace be with you.” May we all know the reality of his presence and feel fully alive in Christ.
- “Crown him the Lord of life, who triumphed o’er the grave … His glories now we sing, who died and rose on high; who died eternal life to bring, and lives, that death may die.” (Singing the Faith 347). How might such faith be reflected in your life and worship today?
- “Where there is peace, God is” (George Herbert). Take time today to settle in prayer, and appreciate the presence of God in your life.