36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” 40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
Ever seen a ghost – not I – thankfully! But the gathered disciples in this story thought they had when they saw Jesus suddenly among them! His immediate response to them being startled – “Peace, be with you”. He could have said other things, like, ‘I told you I was coming back – why so startled’ or a myriad of other responses, but He goes straight to the heart, to deal with fear, concern. Then as if to prove things He goes to the physical realities of His crucifixion to show this is real. The emotion salve, then the physical proof.
Experts in the field of emotional intelligence tell us that our brains process information, first emotionally, then rationally. That every rational thought comes with an emotion attached. Assuming the truth of this research, we do well to approach situations, especially unfamiliar situations or concerning, even fear-filled situations with an approach that deals with the felt need and the emotions attached prior to the perceived rational element of a situation. Jesus’ appeal to peace is one we each need to hear, perhaps more often than we realise. What do you expect to hear from Jesus when faced with a new, scary situation?
Father may we experience the powerful peace that guards our hearts and our minds in Jesus!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta