“Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. (John20:19)

Peace.  Do you ever feel like it alludes you?  We all desire peace, but at times we just can’t seem to find it.  Yet, we keep searching for it.  I read some people’s posts on Facebook, and it makes me wonder if they even know what peace means, for they seem to have very little of it. 

Jesus spent three and a half years in public ministry while he was on this small planet.  He was constantly accompanied by his band of a dozen men, along with women who followed him with devotion.  And he ministered to thousands of people.  Yet are you aware that he never said to anyone “peace be with you.”  The first time we read of Christ uttering those words is in the 20th chapter of the gospel of John.  He spoke those words to his disciples when he popped in unexpectedly on them as they were hiding in fear behind locked doors following his resurrection.  In his moments with them, he proclaimed the words “peace be with you” not once, but twice.  Then eight days later, when his doubting disciple, Thomas was present with the disciples, Jesus again crashed their party and proclaimed, “peace be with you.” 

Now, here’s the question I want us to ponder.  Why did Jesus not speak the words “peace be with you” until after his resurrection?  Let me give you a little hint.  When Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah’s death, he wrote: “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him.”  The answer to that question is in the words, “the punishment that brought us peace was upon him.”  Peace could only come after Christ’s atonement on the cross was made.  Christ’s death on the cross resulted in giving to us the peace we all desire.

And here is another interesting thing about the peace Christ gives.  When Isaiah wrote of that peace, he used the Hebrew word shalom – “the punishment that brought us shalom was upon him.”  Likewise, when Jesus spoke the blessing of peace upon his disciples, he didn’t say ‘peace’ either.  He said, “Shalom aleichem,” which means, ‘Shalom be upon you.’”

There is a great difference between merely speaking the word peace and speaking the word Shalom.  The word Shalom incorporates many things, including safety, rest, prosperity, fullness, soundness…..even well-being.  Jesus was saying to his disciples, “May you be blessed with everything that will make you whole, complete; full of joy, and peace, and happiness; as well as prosperity.”  He promised them an abundance in speaking one word to the disciples – Shalom! 

And here’s the best part for you and me.  The apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 3:15, “Let the peace (Shalom) of Christ rule in your hearts.”  On the cross, Jesus Christ won the greatest peace that any human being could every possibly want or need.  David wrote in Psalm 43:5, “Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad?  I will put my hope in God!”  Good questions that we should ask ourselves – especially when we are given such great Shalom!