And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Luke 24:36
How do we get peace? It’s what we all want. When your best friend in the world is upset with you, nothing feels right anymore. When your mom or dad, sister or brother, son or daughter tell you to leave them alone for whatever reason, you feel isolated and dejected. When your core beliefs are attacked by someone you respect and love, you feel anxious and alone. So when the disciples witnessed not only the death of Jesus, but the humiliation and repudiation of Him and His ministry, they were distraught. They had no peace.
Every year there was a friendly battle between the firefighters and policemen in my home town. They would gather in the street in front of the large downtown Fire Station. The object of the battle was to use the force of the water from the fire hoses to push the other side behind a line drawn on the street. The water pressure coming from those hoses was massive. It would knock anyone off their feet and push them back. The confrontation was set up to be like a tug-of-war, but with water pressure. Both sides faced each other head on. So when the policemen sent some of the men to sneak around to the side of the firefighters with hoses, they easily blew them back behind the line. The battle was over. I saw my dad and other firefighters swept off their feet and rolled backwards like rag dolls. I was humiliated for my dad and all the firefighters. That image is seared into my memory.
I imagine the disciples felt a 1000 times more humiliated and confused when they saw Jesus spit on, called names, flogged, and placed on a cross. Whatever peace they had in their hearts was ripped out that day at Calvary. Their world spun out of control. I can only imagine they had a sick feeling in their stomachs from an anxiety that caused a deep ache in their hearts and a fog in their heads. And so they were dejected when Jesus walked with two of them on the road to Emmaus after His resurrection. There He “took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27) As they looked at Scripture through the eyes of Jesus, they began to see a bigger story. Their former belief in Jesus as their earthly savior was replaced by the truth that He was their heavenly Savior who had come to reconcile them to the Father. As Jesus explained the Scriptures to them, they felt a “burning” in their hearts. (Luke 24:32) This burning is none other than the Word of God piercing the heart like a sword.
We can do one of two things with that burning. We can reject it and go our own way, or we can accept it and follow Jesus. We read that all of the disciples gathered sometime later to hear how two of them had met Jesus. Perhaps those two were explaining the Word when He suddenly showed up and said, “Peace be with you.” Peace always follows Jesus. The disciples felt a burning in their hearts when Jesus taught them the truth in the Scriptures. But they didn’t have peace until they sat down with Jesus, ate with Him, and saw Him for who He truly is – their Savior.
Peace doesn’t come from the burning in my heart. But that burning can motivate me to invite Jesus into my heart. When I eat with Jesus and open my heart to Him, peace settles my stomach, calms my heart, and clears my head. No wonder Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:20, “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Do you want peace? Eat with Jesus.