Jesus’ behavior at His betrayal in Gethsemane shows us the power of peace. His responses defused the tension and He miraculously healed an ear. Peter, on the other hand, panicked and fled with the other disciples. Jesus’ peace came from knowing that the Father was in control and things were going according to His plan.
Jesus seems to teach the disciples the same lesson in two stages:
When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus therefore said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:19-22)
“Peace be with you,” is perhaps more than a greeting. If it is an instruction it seems to point to peace as a necessary basis for ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. But where does that peace come from?
If the disciples had been taking proper notes while Jesus was teaching in the upper room a few days earlier they would have learned the answer.
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Peace comes from being in Jesus rather than in the world. Jesus said He had overcome or conquered the world. Knowing that—deeply knowing it—gives us peace. As everything reached flash point in Gethsemane Jesus had that peace because the Father had shown Him how events would unfold. Knowing God is in control of His plan gives us peace too.
But in Gethsemane the disciples forgot Jesus’ “stage one” teaching and His call to courage. Abstract teaching needs something concrete to reinforce it. Three days later, when Jesus appeared in their room, undeterred by closed doors, He showed them His wounds as a concrete demonstration of victory. That morning’s confusing stories were true; Jesus was alive in the flesh. He had indeed overcome. True peace is possible for everyone who courageously faces the screaming opposition of the world.1 And peaceful people are ready to be sent in power.
- Joshua was called to a similar process—God gave him promises and then told him to have courage (Josh. 1:1-9). [↩]