Once upon a time, a certain king makes an open request challenging all the artists in his kingdom to compete for a prize on a painting that would correctly represent peace. Many people enrolled, and there were many pictures. The king takes his time to eliminate the submissions until two beautiful paintings were remaining. They were both very outstanding; one shows a lake surrounded by exotic mountains and green vegetation. It looked beautiful and peaceful, and everyone admired it. The second was also magnificent as it showed a quiet mountainside and river, but the sky shows a raging storm and the environment looked troubled.
When it was time for the king to make his choice, it surprised everyone that he settled for the second picture and his son asked him the rationale behind his preference for the second picture that shows a raging storm instead of the first that showed all calmness. Replying the king requested for the painting he asked his son to look at it more closely. When the son did, he discovered a bird settling peacefully in its nest somewhere in a tiny opening on the rocks despite the raging storm. And the king says to his son; peace is not the absence of storm or any other kind of physical disturbances, it is about remaining calm and hopeful amid all those troubles.
As the king in the narrative indicated, peace is not the absence of environmental noise or external disturbances; it is instead an inner calmness that rests on a hopeful future; peace has to do with internal tranquillity even when the whole world seems to be tearing apart. Peace is not what you buy with money; you instead earn it through the right ordering of your inner self. Many poor people have peace, and some so many wealthy people are in “pieces.”
The unsettling experience of the arrest, passion, and death of our Lord Jesus Christ could have left his disciples in great trauma. The scriptures made us understand that the sheep will scatter when they strike the shepherd (Zech. 13:7, Matt. 26:31). We could also recall that before his passion and death our Lord said:
The hour is coming. Indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have said this to you, so that in me you may have PEACE. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have overcome the world. (John 16:32-33).
For fear of the Jews, the disciples were often staying in secured places (John 20: 19; 26). To confirm that all these indicate absence of peace in their lives, the first statement of our Lord when he appeared to them says, “peace be unto you” (John 20:19); and he would do this at other times he appeared after his resurrection including in the Gospel of today (Luke 24:35-48).
It is interesting to hear Peter in the First Reading (Acts 3:13-15, 17-19), decry the attitude of those who denied our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of Pilate when he had decided to release him. The theme of denial here also reminds us of Peter’s denial of our Lord not just once but three times (John 18:15-27). One could begin to wonder, “what differentiates Peter’s denial and that of the people at Gabbatha before Pilate?” And the answer could be found in what each of them did afterwards, for Peter it was repentance (Luke 22:61-62), but for the people especially the high priests and Sadducees, it was renewed efforts to stop the message of the resurrection (Acts 3, 4, and 5).
The theme of repentance followed the testimonies about the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. After the preaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost, the people were cut to their hearts, and they asked, “what shall we do?” And Peter tells them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that their sins will be forgiven, and they will receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2: 37-38).
There would be no peace without repentance. Repentance means to change one’s mind (Exo. 32:14). To repent of sin means to change one’s mind about committing sin and deciding to do right. Peace is the state of mind not the condition of the environment. For us to have peace we need to change our mind, we need to repent. We need to change our mind on the way we think about others; we need to change our mind in the way we relate to others, we need to change our minds on our attitudes before we can have peace.
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ brought peace to us. It means that we should not be afraid of the “Jews.” The Jews here represent all those challenges that face us in life. The Jews represent all the obstacles on our way to holiness. Jews represent all the mistakes of our past. When our Lord said, “Peace be unto you” he was saying to them the storm is over, the trouble is over. There is nothing that qualifies to stress at this point in your life which the peace of the resurrection cannot overcome. The word of God says that the peace of Christ surpasses all understanding. That means it is a supernatural fruit; actually, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
As we continue to celebrate the resurrection, let us not allow anything nor anyone to take away your “Alleluia.” The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ is your right and heritage as a child of the resurrection. You only need to repent; change your mind, and the glory of God will forever abide with you. May the Peace of the Lord be with you always and have a peaceful week ahead,