By the Right Revd John Davies, Bishop of the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon
John 20. 19-22
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Variations - 2 Themes (Paganini Caprice in A Minor No. 24) and Variations 1- 4 - By Andrew Lloyd Webber
Reflection - As the Father sent me, so I send you
Someone once said to me, “So, to be a ‘real Christian, you have to believe that Jesus walked through a stone wall?” Good question!
The Gospel accounts of the appearances of the risen Jesus send us a variety of messages about his risen presence. For example, it’s a presence not limited to the world with which we are familiar and with which we are physically in touch; it’s a presence not limited to a physical being for he is known in the breaking of the bread; he is known when the scriptures are opened; he is known as the one who is with us even to the close of the age.
So, what message are we being sent in these few verses? The scene is familiar to those of us who read the Gospels: Doors barred for security, frightened disciples, utter confusion, sorrow and even anger at what has happened. Yet, Jesus is suddenly and somehow there. And, instead of adding to the sense of anxiety or panic, and instead of joining in with the general rejoicing of the disciples, proclaims ‘Shalom – peace be with you’. We might think ‘Chill! Calm down and carry on!’
‘Carry on’ is the crux. ‘As the Father sent me, so I send you.’ John wants us to grasp that, although we might hide under the blankets and hope that the world will go away, it won’t. Challenges are always there for us to face, for the Church to face, even if we would rather they weren’t there. And, in facing those challenges, the Risen Lord is with us to guide and encourage us on the paths of truth and right. There is no escaping the Risen Christ. We must draw on the breath of his Spirit, keep calm and carry on facing the challenges.