Peace Be With You

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 20:19-23

May 26, 2023, Words By: Kristy Humphreys, Image By: Blakely Dadson

Made Flesh

Maybe it’s just me, but for a long time I didn’t get what the big deal was about the resurrection. Let me explain. 

I was always fascinated by the incarnation. God becoming human and dwelling among us? Whoah. But by the time we get to the resurrection, we’ve already established that Jesus is God. We know He can do miracles; He raised Lazarus from the dead; and through Him “all things were made” (John 1). So… why should we be surprised that Jesus would be able to come back to life? It felt like another point in the long list of supernatural abilities. Create world? Check. Part the red sea? Check. Come back from the dead? Check.

What I didn’t pick up on until recently was exactly how Jesus came back. Or rather, his manner. 

In His last days, Jesus sees a crowd go from welcoming Him and shouting Hosannah, to hearing their cries for “crucify him!” One of His closest friends and disciples literally sells Him out. Another close friend promises to stand by Him no matter what, and promptly disavows Him…multiple times. When the guards show up, His entourage scatters.

The people that listened to Him preach, that showed up in droves to see His miracles, that ate with Him and invited Him into their homes, they abandoned and betrayed Him and left Him to one of the cruelest and most grotesque forms of torture and death possible, literally choosing a criminal to be shown mercy over Him. 

Ok, so let’s imagine that you or I are abandoned by everyone we know and love. That we are subjugated to public humiliation and torture. We somehow get to come back from that and the first thing we say would be… probably not “peace be with you.” I can only speak for myself but mine would probably be something more snarky. I’d probably also enjoy the fear and shock at my unexpected return a little too much. But that’s beside the point.

The point is that when faced with the worst of what humans can do to one another, Jesus’ response is “Peace be with you.” He even shows them His wounds, choosing to expose his vulnerability instead of acting violently or retributively out of His woundedness. It says they rejoiced, but I wonder if anyone in that room also had a pit in their stomach or a lump in their throat, wondering “What next?” But He simply repeats Himself, “Peace be with you.” 

This might be overstating it, but for me, those four words are more miraculous than the story of the empty tomb. Again and again, Jesus shows us that in His kingdom everything is upside down, love reigns, and God wants to be with His people. He is modeling for us what forgiveness is, and what it means to turn the other cheek and love our enemies. In fact, next He says, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you,” as in, “See what I just did? You do that too.” 

Here’s the beauty. That statement is less of a command and more of an invitation. We’re never going to do those things perfectly. But Jesus gives us His spirit and invites us into the hardest places of our lives and the lives of our community: the places of anger, vengeance, betrayal, marginalization and deep pain. He’s already been there, and He still is. 

Now He’s showing us a path, a manner, to join Him in those places of brokenness and discover true healing. Not through violence, scapegoating, or resignation, but as a wounded healer. As we experience the transformative power of His forgiveness, we are called to extend that same peace and healing to others. Our wounds and vulnerabilities, rather than being hidden or avoided, become integral components of the peace and forgiveness we offer.

We aren’t called to perfection. We’re invited to openly and honestly fumble with our invitation into the hardest places in life. Doing so may be the most effective way to invite others on that journey as well.

Made Flesh

What does it mean to you to experience the miracle of Jesus as the wounded healer? How might the Spirit be calling forth healing out of and through the wounds of those in your community?

About The Author

Kristy Humphreys