Devotion from Eugene Brunow 4-10-2023

Peace To You

The gospel for this coming Sunday (Second Sunday of Easter) is John 20:19-31.  This text has three narratives: Jesus appears to the disciples, Jesus and Thomas, and the purpose of the Book of John.

The setting is the evening of Easter. For the disciples it was a very confusing and perplexing time. The previous week had been filled with many dynamic actions on the part of Jesus, like casting the marketers out of the Gentles court. However, beginning of Thursday evening things had started to become unclear. The struggles that Jesus was going through bewildered them. Then, when Judas and soldiers showed up and had Jesus arrested, they really became befuddled.

The disciples’ reaction to all the goings-on was very disappointing to say the very least. Most of them ran from the scene and Peter denied Jesus three times. Then there was the death of their leader who had raised a number of people from death. Here was a man whom they thought would be a conqueror of all their enemies was now laying in the grave. Things couldn’t have been more puzzling.

Not only were they mystified, but they undoubtedly carried with them a ton of quilt for their role in all of these events.  Despite their promises to be with Jesus at all happenings, they had failed miserably. On top of that their also feared the Jews who might come looking to do them harm. They had heard something about Jesus rising, reported to them by the women. They didn’t understand that either and simply went back to their homes.

They weren’t alone in their failures. We can, if we are honest, relate at many levels with their behavior.

In the midst of doubt and fear Jesus comes with “Peace be with you.” Peace is the antithesis of fear.

The greeting of “peace” in the OT wished prosperity in body and soul to the person being greeted. This is not an empty greeting.  This is full Gospel.  It is an absolution.  The greeting is in keeping with the Greeter. The first thing He does is to forgive their sins and declare that all is well.

The Lord never ever forgets or forsakes us. He comes to us with his peace based on his grace and mercy. He does not treat us as we deserve but showers us with his gifts to bring the message of forgiveness to those around us. He even lets us see and touch him through his Word and Sacraments. And he stands ready to provide whatever we need that will help us in our time of doubt and lack of faith.

Prayer: Let me gladly share this Good News, O God, that others may believe and live. Amen. (TLSB)