Peace be with you

From the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to the day he rose from the dead his life and the life of his followers were turned upside down.

We call it Holy Week. I’m not sure that would have been the term the disciples would have used for that week at the time. Maybe more like ‘rollercoaster-week’ or ‘emotionally-exhausting-week’ or even ‘most-confusing-in-my-life-ever-week!’

It was certainly an emotionally charged week. I have been struck this year by how much weeping is recorded around the events of the first Easter. As we live through an Easter-time like no other in our lifetime, it may be helpful to ponder the various expressions of emotion and grief we read in the Gospel accounts.

We start with Jesus himself. Luke records:

‘But as he (Jesus) came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace.”’
Luke 19:41-42 NLT

I wonder if the events we are living through just now have moved us to weep for a city? For our communities, our country, other countries around the world? Do we cry to the Lord with tears for those who are suffering? How people need to find peace in these times of anxiety and challenge. We know the one who can speak peace into troubled hearts.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all make note of Peter’s reaction when he realises that not only has he not kept his own promise but he has let Jesus down badly by denying him no less than three times. Jesus had warned him, but his own bravado would not let him believe it. When faced with his own failure and sin he wept bitterly.

I suspect we have all experienced something of those tears. The sheer inner turmoil that results when we do not live up to our own standards, let alone God’s. Peter so needed the reassurance of Jesus’ forgiveness and restoration that he experienced after Jesus rose from the dead.

John records Mary Magdalene’s tears as she visits the tomb where Jesus was laid but now stands empty. Tears of grief, confusion, bewilderment. Then Jesus speaks her name.

Tears express so many emotions, such a range of pain. Pain and promise mingle through the events of that first ‘holy week’. May we all hear clearly the words of the risen Jesus to his followers:

‘Peace be with you.’
Luke 24:36


Wishing you a blessed Easter.

Elaine Duncan
Chief Executive