“Christianity is a religion of salvation, and there is nothing in the non-Christian religions to compare with the message of a God who loved, and came after, and died for, a world of lost sinners.”
No matter how many times you’ve heard it, the Easter story can’t help but raise goose bumps; because it’s more than just a story. God’s perfect Son willingly subjected himself to the most gruesome death imaginable—for you; for me; for a world and generations of lost people.
Among the millions of significant details that come together in John’s account of the story, my mind keeps coming back to that room where the disciples were huddled together that night. The door locked; air tense. John tells us that they were afraid (certainly) but with what other emotions might they have been wrestling? Confusion? Desperation? Regret? Shame?
These same men who had declared themselves friends of Christ; promised up and down that they would never deny Jesus were the first to abandon him when he was taken. Feeling the weight of such cowardice, they could never have anticipated Jesus’ arrival. Even less, his response: “Peace be with you!”
In that moment, Jesus met them where they were; with his nail-scarred hands, hole-in-his-side, body full of bruises… but heart full of grace. There was likely no other moment that these men would have been more aware of their unworthiness. Christ could not have been more justified to ream them out, demand their excuses and heap guilt on them for their betrayal.
He could have. But he didn’t.
Instead of issuing condemnation, he offered them peace–His peace–in exchange for the fear, guilt, shame, uncertainty that crippled them. When all they had to bargain with were unworthy souls, He gave them peace.
The peace offered by Christ—both to the men that filled that room then and to all of us reading his words today—was an extension of the salvation offered by his death and resurrection. His death on the cross granted us free access into the presence of God. (How amazing is that??) There is no greater peace than to know the Creator of peace itself.
On that pivotal day in history, prophesies were fulfilled; while redemption, peace, and a personal relationship with the King were lavished upon to all who would believe. That included–and includes–even the most afraid, shameful, confused, and imperfect followers of Christ.
Thank You, God, for Your amazing love, manifested 2,000 years ago and today still in the hearts of those who seek to love You back. Thank You.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” -John 14:27