The Gift of Peace

girl sitting in the sun and praying

The Gift of Peace

Jesus Christ is peace. And He shows up where doors are locked, hearts have abandoned Him, and fear is present. He shows up with peace where we need Him most, but expect to see Him least.

When I was eight years old, I remember attempting to learn American Sign Language. I checked out a book from the library, watched videos on YouTube, and convinced myself that I was going to learn how to sign successfully. One week later, I thought it was too hard, and the book ended up back on the library shelves.

Although that has been decades ago, one sign that I remember is the symbol of peace. And while my childhood memories conjure up the traditional peace sign with two fingers, the actual representation of peace goes much deeper. I think Jesus' disciples would be the first to agree with this.

In John chapter 20, John explains Jesus' death and resurrection. He gives evidence and claims for those He interacted with, the conversations conversed in, and the mannerisms Jesus upheld during His last few hours on earth. Of these discussions are moments of grief, loneliness, despair, and confusion. But they also bring joy, love, sacrifice, and peace.

Immediately after Jesus' death, His disciples were hiding from the persecution of the Jews. I can only imagine their fear.

Their King, Jesus, was crucified, and they abandoned Him. Not one of them resisted the temptation or stood by Him. Not one of them could fight for the One who set them free. And now, they sat in silence.

The door was locked.

The room was quiet.

The discussion was dark.

The questions were burning.

Because Jesus was crucified, and they let it happen. Jesus was murdered, and they left Him all alone.

Suddenly, the atmosphere shifts. 

Something feels different, but everything looks the same.

Until Jesus appears in a locked room and baffles those He walked with for three years.

Until Jesus steps into a dark place, forgiving those who left Him and illuminating them with peace. 

"On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' ” (John 20:19, New International Version).

Because when Jesus rose from the grave, one of the first things He did was bring peace and show them who He is, scars in all. 

"After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord" (John 20:19, New International Version). 

When Jesus came back from the dead, He did not say, "Wow, thanks for letting me die, guys," He said, "Peace be with you." He was not the ghost from Christmas past, present, and future creating bumps in the night and scaring souls. He was the Prince of Peace Isaiah prophesied He was, both then and now:

"The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder. For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian. The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire. For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!" (Isaiah 9:2-7, New Living Translation).

The Greek translation here for peace is eirēnē. Eirēnē is often used to mean a state of national tranquillity or exemption from the rage and havoc of war. It can represent the peace between individuals, the security, safety, and prosperity of a situation, or the Messiah's peace that leads to salvation. In Christianity, it means the tranquil state of our souls assured of salvation through Christ.

When Jesus said, "Peace be with you," He was not merely explaining the blessed state of devout and upright men after death, but the peace, quietness, and rest set up in their hearts yet again. By revealing His wounds, He not only proved that He was the man who walked with them on earth but was the eternal King who would save them for eternity. Yet it was not enough to offer them solace for themselves, but for the entire world:

"Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:21-23, New International Version).

Jesus invited the disciples to share His peace with the world through the gift of the Holy Spirit not because it was an easy task but because it was the present of His presence that only He could give them. 

Today, I believe Jesus does the same.

He shows up in our messy situations where we have abandoned Him or traded Him in for fools gold, and He says, "peace". He stands in the places where we should have received judgment and gives us freedom instead.

But not just that, He also shows us who He really is: 

A baby born in a manger, bringing peace to a broken world. A breath of fresh air who was crucified on a cross because a perfect lamb was needed to cleanse us from our sins. A man who is fully God and man, strong enough to defeat the grave of death.

When Jesus said, "peace," then and says, "peace," now, He invites us to share in His peace. He invites us to share in His offering that the world cannot give. He asks us to dine with Him through the confidence that His peace is a gift the world will never be able to afford, but can always be willing to receive if they will accept Him. He asks us to tune our hearts to the confidence of His indwelling Spirit within us that is only capable of bringing peace. 

"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, New International Version). 

When we are in the middle of hardships and calamity, Jesus says, "Here I am, and I bring peace. Let me show you who I am. Let me explain how I conquered the grave. Let me answer all your questions. Allow me to shake up your fears. Here is my presence. Here is my peace to go with you forevermore, and to be shared with the world." 

Because the gift of peace this season is not our peace. It does not come from our human nature or conjured up intellect. Any peace we have comes from the Holy Spirit working within us and through us to share with a broken world. 

Jesus Christ is peace. And He shows up where doors are locked, hearts have abandoned Him, and fear is present. He shows up with peace where we need Him most, but expect to see Him least.

"Our reconciling “Peace” is Jesus! He has made Jew and non-Jew one in Christ. By dying as our sacrifice, he has broken down every wall of prejudice that separated us and has now made us equal through our union with Christ" (Ephesians 2:14, The Passion Translation).

Agape, Amber

Photo Credit: @dingzeyuli

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is a young adult writer that currently works as an English teacher in Chillicothe, Ohio, and has a passionate desire to impact the world for Jesus through her love for writing, aesthetics, health/fitness, and ministry. Amber seeks to proclaim her love for Christ and the Gospel through her writing, aesthetic worship arts, and volunteer roles. She is enrolled in the YWW Author Conservatory to become a full-time author and is a featured writer for Crosswalk, ibelieve, Salem Web Network, The Rebelution, Daughter of Delight, Kallos, Anchored Passion, No Small Life, and Darling Magazine. In the past, she's also contributed to Called Christian Writers, Southern Ohio Today News, Ohio Christian University, and The Circleville Herald. Visit her website at amberginter.com.