Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week,
when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled
for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said
to them, Peace be unto you.
Jesus finds his disciples sitting in fear and terror both from
without because of the Jews and from within because of their
consciences. They were slow of heart to believe what they had
heard from the women and from some of the disciples, that he
had risen from the dead. While they were talking about it with
sad hearts, Christ appears and hails them with his friendly
greeting, "Peace be unto you," which means a wish for everything
that is good.
The peace of Christ is hidden from our eyes and senses and
is different from that which the world seeks. It is not a visible
or tangible peace, consisting of bodily feeling, but an inner and
spiritual peace, consisting of faith, which grasps and holds to
nothing save what it hears in our text, namely, the gracious
words of Christ, which he speaks to all frightened and troubled
souls. A Christian, therefore, is contented and satisfied with
having Christ as his friend and in him a gracious God who desires
his constant welfare, even though, materially speaking, he
has no peace in the world, but constant strife and contention.
At another place Jesus says, "These things have I spoken unto
you, that ye might have peace. In the world you will have tribulation."
The disciples were not troubled by anyone, yet their hearts
were all aflutter, and were neither at rest nor at peace. While
they are thus in fear and terror, the Lord brings them peace,
not by removing any danger, but by quieting their hearts. The
wickedness of the Jews is neither removed nor changed; they
are as full of hatred and rage as before. Without there is no
change whatever, but the disciples are changed within; they have
become courageous and bold, and the hatred of the Jews is now
of little concern to them. This is the true peace which is able
to calm the heart even in the midst of trouble. It is well called
a peace "which passeth all understanding;" it is abiding and invincible
as long as the heart clings to Christ; for thereby it is
certain that it has a merciful God and the forgiveness of sins.