Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they
were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among
them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them
the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw
the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the
Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and
said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:19-22 (New Living Translation)
John’s Gospel tells us how it
was the evening of resurrection day. Some of the women had told the other
disciples a wild story that Jesus had come back to life. These followers of
Jesus, in a locked room, were trying to believe the story but they just
couldn’t shake the fear. What if the Jewish leaders started rounding up those
who had followed Jesus? What if they put each of them on trial like they did
Jesus? Jesus was crucified. They saw him dead, not mostly dead, really dead. What
would the soldiers and religious leaders do to them? They made sure the door
was closed and bolted from the inside and prayed like crazy. This atmosphere
would have created a strong desire to pray.
Suddenly, Jesus stood right
there with them. John knew right away it was Jesus, but how did Jesus get into
the room? You know that startled feeling you get when you don’t hear someone
coming and suddenly they are there? I think that is how John felt. “Oh I didn’t
hear you come in. Wait, how did you get in here? I thought we had the door
locked. Who let Jesus in?”
I can just see Jesus smiling
and saying, “Peace, man.” Okay, or maybe more like, “Peace be with you.” The
Old Testament version of this greeting is “Shalom to you” and it was an
everyday greeting, but here Jesus has loaded this word with theological
Hebrew word, shalom, refers most
commonly to a person being uninjured and safe, whole and sound. In the New
Testament, shalom is revealed as the reconciliation of all
things to God through the work of Christ … Shalom experienced is
multidimensional, complete well-being – physical, psychological, social, and
spiritual; it flows from all of one’s relationships being put right – with God,
with(in) oneself, and with others.”[1] 
Jesus indeed brings Shalom to
his followers. He reconciles all things to God. He is reconciling his followers
to God and he wants his followers to be at peace. He shows them his hands and
his side, to display to them that his wounds and his great love for them have
reconciled them to God. The same is true for us. We have been reconciled to God
by the wounds, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
This is the context of shalom within which Jesus says his next
words. “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Jesus has done the
work of reconciliation on the cross and brought us peace. Now we get to join
him and his father in the work of reconciliation. We have peace and now we get
to offer this peace to others. For you see, we do have something to offer to
this world. We can offer them the unconditional love of Jesus who reconciles the
world by his submission to the cross. And let me assure you, this world is
looking for unconditional love. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn will
give you “likes” and even “loves” if you give the world the right things. But Jesus gives us real love, unconditional love.
Not only does Jesus invite us
into reconciliation with God and invite us to join him in his Father’s work,
but he gives us the power to do so. John tells us that Jesus’ next words were,
“Receive the Holy Spirit” and then he breathes on them. Practically speaking,
this empowerment by the Holy Spirit means that they – and we – don’t need to
be scared of passing on the faith to others. We have the same power in us which
raised up Jesus Christ from the dead.
Certainly, the world needs
more unconditional love. We all want more unconditional love. Our friends want
to hear more about unconditional love. They no longer know that there is such a
thing as unconditional love. They have become so used to Facebook “likes” and “loves” and think these are the major kinds of love that are in the
world. We can show them what Jesus has done for them, mostly with our lives,
and also with our words. The unconditional love of Jesus that we have
experienced and the faith we embody will be passed on to others as we simply allow
ourselves to be authentic. If we will be ourselves and be authentic
and vulnerable with others, the Holy Spirit will work in the lives of others as
they see faith lived out in us.

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