“Peace be with you” is the salutation we use to greet each other during our church services. But what does peace really mean?
I know what peace feels like after digging into a sumptuous buffet and having a food coma. I also know when I don’t have peace, by just simply checking my blood pressure.
But besides these carnal, temporal even primal feelings of peace, what exactly is Jesus’ Peace?
R was invited to be camp speaker for a retreat in the Swat Valley, Pakistan. So R and his wife J were scheduled for a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Peshawar, via Karachi. However, to their horror, when they arrived at the airport, they were unceremoniously informed that their flight had already taken off the day before! Now they were stranded!
When they drove home, it became clear that the travel agent had made a terrible mistake. But they were due to arrive in Pakistan in 2 days’ time to make it for the retreat. Alternative plans had to be made immediately to resolve this problem!
R and J recall that despite this frenzy they experienced a surreal sense of peace and a certainty that they would somehow get to the retreat on time. It was as if Jesus was there holding their hand. They had the peace of God that they were meant to be at the camp, and that this was God’s plan for them.
R felt this peace especially. He is in Quality Assurance and so is exacting in his standards. In normal circumstances he would have got angry and fired the travel agent for making such a fundamental (even unforgiveable) mistake. But somehow Jesus’ peace was with him, and he did not even get angry or irritated.
They both had a deep sense of peace that transcended their own understanding. This peace cannot be explained in words, cannot be understood by the mind. It can only be felt in hearts. They were in the centre of God’s will, the calm spot in the eye of storm.
Miraculously, they managed to secure a flight to Lahore, Pakistan, cleared immigration, and took an overnight bus (used mainly by the locals) to Peshawar and then onward to the Swat valley. They made it on time for the retreat and shared the peace of Christ with the other believers. Hallelujah!
Did they face hardship whilst obeying and experiencing God? They certainly did and had their fair share of suffering. During that trip – which extended to Afghanistan, J fell sick from giardia, a water borne disease caused by faeces contamination. Even in pain and suffering, God was there for them.
In John 20, after the crucifixion and resurrection, the first words that Jesus spoke to his disciples were “Peace be with you”. Three times in chapter 20, John records Jesus speaking these words.
Jesus broke through physical walls to be physically present with them.
He also broke through their walls of fear and of doubt. He allowed his disciples to touch His wounds and His side, to prove to them that He was real and alive. And to allow them to share in His suffering. In the same way today, He touches our own wounds (be it physical, emotional or spiritual) and shares in our pain and suffering.
Today and everyday He walks through our doors and walls of fear, doubt and grief to envelope us with His love. He says, “Do not be afraid, do not let your hearts be troubled, in My house there are many rooms.”
He frees us and gives us space. He breathes into us and gives us His peace, a Peace in suffering, a Peace that overcomes the world.
Just as Jesus breathed His peace upon R and J, He sent them to the Swat Valley to do His work. A sending peace, a peace with a mission, with the words, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”
Today, He breathes on us too, The breath of the Holy Spirit. As we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive His Peace.
Peace be with you.
 John 14:27
 John 14:2
 John 16: 33