It was the first day of the week, a Sunday, that the disciples gathered together behind locked doors. The Gospel tells us that they were there for fear of the Jews. Yet, they had to be concerned about the stories that were leaking out. The tomb was empty. First they heard this from some of the women who had gone to the tomb early that morning. Then they heard the same from Peter and John. What could it mean? Had someone stolen His body?
When we look back on this scene, we feel incredulous that the disciples did not understand that He was resurrected. After all, hadn’t He told them that this was going to happen? If He was no longer dead why would they feel such fear that they might be arrested?
We need to remember that the disciples had no expectation of a resurrection. When Jesus mentioned to them on a few occasions that He would be killed and in three days rise again, they had to be confused. Was He talking literally? Was it another parable?
As they gathered, Jesus suddenly appeared to them. Not as a ghost, nor as an angel. It wasn’t a parable or a metaphor. Jesus was alive! The implications of His resurrection were not immediately understood but they had to know that everything had changed. Then He spoke. “Peace be with you.” What an amazing thing to say to those who had failed miserably. Yet what words of grace! Despite it all, despite their failures and mistakes, Jesus spoke grace right into their hearts. By His example, we as the church are called to follow. Despite the disappointments and failures all around us, our task is not to criticize or judge. Our job is to speak peace through our words and actions.
Easter Sunday has come and gone. But the work of peace continues. Let us follow where our Lord has led and offer forgiveness, love and peace.