A NOTE ABOUT THIS WEEK’S DEVOTIONS:
Last week, we focused on the seven last words Jesus spoke from the cross. Jesus died on that cross, and his body laid in a borrowed grave. But death could not contain him. The tomb is empty and Jesus is risen from the dead! This week we focus on first seven words Jesus speaks on this side of the resurrection.
John 20:19-21a NRSV
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.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.”
Christ is Risen!
He is Risen, Indeed! Alleluia!
After appearing to Mary Magdalene in the garden outside the empty tomb, Jesus appears to his disciples later that evening. What’s the first thing Jesus said to the disciples? Peace.
I imagine there were many other things he could have said to them –
Where have you been?
Why didn’t you believe me?
I told you this was going to happen!
Peter – we need to talk!
What’s with the locked door?
Instead of blame and shame, Jesus offers peace.
Peace and not fault-finding.
Peace and not rebuke
The first word is PEACE. In that word is a sense of cleansing and refreshing and releasing of the tension.
This is where God begins with us.
It begins with the good news – Christ is Risen – he is Risen indeed.
Our relationship with God begins with what God has done for us.
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Are you holding on to your bitterness, anger, frustration, hurt?
Jesus says, “I let go of that a long time ago.”
EXHALE – let it out!
For you are loved. You are forgiven. You are God’s beloved.
Christ is Risen. Indeed!
Let us pray:
Almighty God, you offer peace that surpasses all understanding. Release the grip of bitterness, sadness, sorrow and shame to be wrapped instead in your grace-filled embrace. We pray this in the name of your Son, our Savior and Risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.