We just celebrated Easter. The Resurrection. I can only imagine how the disciples must have felt. Jesus had gone. Died. They freaked. What had they given up their lives for? Now what? This wasn’t looking good. Then Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you.” (John 20: 26) He showed them his hands and feet, still bearing the wounds of his sacrifice. The disciples recognized him as their Savior and Lord. Jesus’ responded, “Peace [Shalom] be with you.”
What did he mean? Why those words? He had said them previously. Just before he was arrested he told his disciples, “Peace [Shalom] I leave you. My peace [Shalom] I give you. Not as the world gives do I give you…” (John 14:27) I don’t think they understood. I’m not sure we do either.
Tim Keller, in his book Generous Justice, states, “Shalom, usually translated peace, carries far more meaning that our English word. It means complete reconciliation, a state of the fullest flourishing in every dimension-physical, emotional, social, and spiritual-because all relationships are right, perfect, and filled with joy.”(Keller, 175) Then he gives expands his definition so we can get a fuller picture.
“When your body is healthy it’s shalom but when it experiences brokenness there’s a loss of physical shalom.
Psychological shalom, mental well-being breaks down, anxiety, depression, guilt.
Social shalom, where people with advantages invest them in those who have fewer, the community experiences civic prosperity or social shalom.” (Keller, 175)
So let me translate. Jesus died, got up, showed up then spoke up. “Peace be with you?” In our lingo? “Hey guys, that dying and getting up thing. Well, that was me making shalom possible for you … shalom with God, self, each other and the world. I just made a way for all things to start moving back towards what God intended in the garden.”
Isn’t this, in essence, what Paul said Colossians 1:19-20?
“For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.”
As one author explains, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus], and through him to reconcilehimself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Paul uses another significant word here: reconcile. To make peace where it is lacking. To bring back together. To mend what is torn and to fix what is broken. And Paul wants us to grasp that this is a much larger issue than just human souls…. ‘all things’ really means everything…”
So that day when he got up. And showed up. And the disciples freaked. And he spoke, “Peace be with you,” Jesus let them (and us) in on what had occurred in the spiritual realm. Shalom had become a possibility. He had made a way. To bring shalom back.
And that means Christ’s followers, both then and now, are to live “in a way that generates a strong community where human beings can flourish…to go to places where the fabric of shalom has broken down, where the weaker members of societies are falling through the fabric, and to repair it.” (Keller, 177) Keller says this is what it means to do justice. To be just. To be a just society.
All of this wrapped in a few words. “Peace be with you.”
The resurrection is more than Christ overcoming death. It is more than sins forgiven. It demands we ask, “Where shalom is broken down? Where & how can we to do some repairing?”