3rd Sunday of Easter (Ages 3-6): Real Peace
Jesus died on the cross, but now he is Risen to new life never to die again. This is what we know. It seems like we have always known this. But for the disciples, it is something very new. They know about the first part; they know about death. Jesus' death is so very real and it makes them upset. It takes awhile for them to know the second part, though, to know Jesus Risen like we do. In the Gospel for this Sunday, some of the disciples have seen Jesus alive, and they are telling the others what they have seen.
While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
There's Jesus, standing right there with them! "Peace be with you," he says. He doesn't say, "Hello," or "Hi." Jesus' greeting is, "Peace be with you." He wants to give them something.
They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.
Oh, dear. The disciples think that Jesus is a ghost. Are ghosts real? No, they are not. But the idea of a ghost is scary. The disciples are already upset because of Jesus' real death. Now they are frightened by the idea of an unreal ghost. Jesus does not want the disciples to be upset or frightened. He wants to give them peace.
He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
Jesus lets them touch him. They feel his skin under their fingers. They can hug him. They can squeeze him. Can you hug and squeeze a ghost? No, because ghosts aren't real. Now the disciples know that death is real, and also Risen life is real. They had not known that there was more to what is real. Jesus has shown them more, and they are beginning to fill up with peace.
While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
The disciples are filling up with joy because Jesus is alive, but they are still a little confused. They had thought that death was the end of what is real. Now Jesus Risen has opened up so much more that is real, so much that the disciples had never known before.
Jesus knows this is confusing for them, and he wants them to have his peace, but he is hungry. When he is hungry, the disciples are so happy to feed him. It must feel good to share their food with him. We would like to share our food with Jesus, too.
There is something that we can share. Remember Jesus' greeting to the disciples? Peace be with you. Jesus gives his peace to the disciples. He shares it with them and he shares peace with us, too. We can share Jesus' peace with others. We can hug them or squeeze them, we can feel their skin under our fingers, and we can say, "Peace be with you." Maybe today we can share Jesus' peace with someone we live with. Maybe we will feel them fill up with peace and joy. Maybe they will share Jesus' peace right back! Now that's Real!