The Prince of Peace
John 20:19 ¶ When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
John 20:20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
John 20:26 ¶ A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
Jesus came to this earth as the “Prince of Peace.” On the night he was born those who announced his birth declared, “peace on earth.” Now, at the closing chapter of his life, recorded for us in the Gospel of John, the resurrected Jesus visits his disciples to bring them final words. Again they are words of peace. Three times in these few verses he appears and tells them,”Peace be with you.”
Just as he came to usher in a kingdom of peace, so Jesus was breathing his peace upon his followers. The new kingdom was now gaining ground, day in and day out, in the lives of his followers. For this foothold to really take shape he would need to ascend to heaven and send them the Holy Spirit. The breath of peace would be upon them all as the Spirit filled them. The Prince of Peace had come to bring an everlasting peace that would forever change the lives of his followers and begin to sweep across the known world in ways that they never would have imagined. Kingdom of God peace had come and continues to be available to all today.
Our world is anything but peaceful these days. Unfortunately this is not anything new. As we read through human history we will discover that it is sketched out, and the story told, by one conflict after another. From the second generation of humans we discover Cain killing his brother Abel. Peace didn’t last very long in the very beginning and as humanity has leaned into the “bent toward sinning,” conflict and war has continued. Unfortunately it is a part of our corrupted nature.
Jesus came in human flesh to bring healing to the corruption in our nature, providing a pathway for the corruption to be healed. No longer do we have to have this “bent toward sinning,” nor this inclination to war, fighting or conflict. Instead, as God’s children we can live in his kingdom of peace. Unfortunately we cannot make that choice for others who live around us but it does challenge us and our response when provoked.
Jesus breathed peace to his disciples. History records that nearly all of them suffered unpleasant deaths at the hands of those who saw them as a threat. At the same time they seem to have left this world with an incredible peace that could only have come from the “Prince of Peace,” the one who has overcome worldly kingdoms. His peace remains available for us today as we are challenged to step into and live out our lives in his kingdom, transforming us, his citizens, in every aspect of our lives from a people of conflict, to a people of peace.
Lord, may I lean into your kingdom of peace today. Amen.