So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were…, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
While during his life Jesus demonstrated by his words and actions the need of love and service to others, it is worth noting that after his resurrection he invariably greeted his disciples with, “Peace”. For Jesus “peace” was not a mere abstract concept nor did he simply mean by it absence of conflict or war. For, the disciples were neither at war with anyone nor were they in conflict among themselves for power when he began appearing to them.
Not that peace became something important only after his resurrection. Even before he marched to his death carrying the heavy cross, he had not only passionately desired for peace to abide with the disciples but he also imparted it to them. In John’s gospel we find Jesus saying to his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful”.
Interestingly enough though, it was not just before his death and after his resurrection that peace became an important preoccupation with Jesus. The gospel of Luke tells us that at the time of his birth the message of peace reverberated the skies.
Even in the case of Islam, the word itself originates from “shalom” meaning Peace. “As-salam alaykum” and “Waalaykum as-salam” in Arabic meaning “Peace be upon you”, is how Muslims always greet one another and others. Coincidently, it is with “Om Shanti! Shanti! Shanti!” that most of the Hindu discourses and worship services end.
And yet we find that in our world real peace often eludes us. The place of Jesus’ birth and ministry is particularly plagued by constant conflicts resulting in persecutions and deaths of thousands. Is it because those responsible for these atrocities have either forgotten the essence of our religions and/or deserted the most crying desire of human hearts for peace?...