Last week I received an email from an Inspector in the United Kingdom. The subject line was “Are you dead or alive?” The inspector wrote that “if I’m alive,” I should claim 15.5 million dollars by sending him my contact information (social security number, bank account number, etc.) The inspector wrote that someone was trying to get my money, claiming I’d died on February 20th, with the added detail that I was buried!
For the record, I’m NOT “dead and buried.” (And I’ve decided to not try to claim the millions!)
2000 years ago, the disciples of Jesus KNEW he was “dead and buried!” To even THINK about the question “Are you dead or alive?” would never occurred to them! Jesus was dead. Jesus was buried. Their existence was one of chaos. Sin, death, and violence were all around them. They were afraid for their own lives.
But Jesus appeared to them! Now, the ALIVE Jesus entered their lives with something far greater than 15.5 million dollars! He greeted them with “Peace be with you! In the Hebrew, this greeting is “Shalom.” It is often understood as a simple hello, or a goodbye. But “shalom” is FAR MORE than a “holy hello” or a spiritual-sounding “how-do-you-do!”
This one-word greeting of Jesus, when he appeared to them after his death and resurrection was a word of compassion and forgiveness. He was saying: “I love you. I forgive you. You haven’t been so faithful or courageous. I love you. I forgive you. I died to put you right with God again! I love you. I forgive you. With me, risen from the dead, in your life, sin (NO sin) can make you God’s enemy or condemn you! I love you. I forgive you.
Jesus would give the first disciples time to embrace this offer of peace, love, and forgiveness. Jesus also sent them out to witness. Jesus was a teacher, and he knew that teachers are always learning. He knew that teachers learned by teaching. He sent the disciples out with a lot to learn. They would learn by speaking about peace, love, and forgiveness. They would learn by doing.
You and I can also learn how to be better disciples of Jesus by speaking of peace, love, and forgiveness. We can learn by doing peaceful and loving deeds. We can learn by being people of forgiveness.
In our daily living, but especially in in times of chaos, Jesus enters with a holy “Peace be with you. Shalom. I love you. I forgive you.”
This is worth more than millions. For Jesus, it was worth dying for. For us, it’s worth eternity, new life, heaven.