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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Again Jesus said, ‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’”—John 20:21 (NIV)
In today’s Scripture, we find ourselves in the upper room with the disciples when Jesus first appeared to them after His resurrection. In verse 19, John tells us the room’s doors were locked, implying that Jesus had entered the room even though no one had let Him in! With this in mind, it’s quite apparent why Jesus’ first words to them were “Peace be with you!” Although this exhortation is certainly appropriate given the fear they were experiencing, there’s also a deeper significance behind the terminology Jesus uses.
Take a few moments to think about the first day of this devotional plan. The main Scripture of that devotional is John 14:26-27, where Jesus has His final conversation with the disciples before facing the cross. He promises them the Holy Spirit will be with them, that He’ll be their helper. Then He says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV). He proceeds to reiterate the promise at the end of His discourse saying, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). When we remember these Scriptures, we can see how Jesus’ exclamation of “Peace be with you” served not only as an immediate reassurance for their present situation, but also as a reminder of His previous promise that He would not leave them as orphans (John 14:18) because He would give them the Holy Spirit, the indwelling presence of God!
Throughout the Scriptures, we often see a similar pattern in how God comforts and assures His people after giving them a rather difficult or scary task. When Moses doubted God could use him to rescue the Hebrew people from Pharaoh, God responded with, “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12 NIV). When Moses passed away and it was Joshua’s time to lead, God urged him not to be afraid or discouraged because “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV). When Jeremiah felt hesitant about God’s calling on his life to be a prophet because of his young age, God proclaimed multiple times, “I am with you” (Jeremiah 1:8,19 NIV). This list can go on and on!
Jesus’ birth represents this timeless promise of God being with us because He is Immanuel, which means God with us (Isaiah 7:14)! This is where our peace come from: His presence with us and in us. Our greatest motivation for proceeding in our mission is the assurance that our God, the God of peace, and His Son, the Prince of Peace, promise to be with us at all times (Romans 15:13, Isaiah 9:6). And not only can we be motivated and comforted by this truth to pursue our mission, but this truth is our mission!
When Jesus told His disciples, “Peace be with you,” He immediately followed that by saying, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Therefore, we can look at the mission of Jesus to understand how our mission parallels His own!
Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21), to bridge the gap between us and the Father (John 14:6), and to give us an abundant life (John 10:10). In essence, Jesus came to restore our peace with God, with each other, and within our souls!
In view of this, the mission Jesus sent us on is essentially a mission of peace. We are to live in such a way that we not only embrace the peace Jesus gives us, but we must also share this peace with others! As Paul describes it in Ephesians 6:15 (NIV), may our feet be “fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.