Then Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”
Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,
“Peace be with you!” (John 6:5, 20:19)
John’s gospel is best place to find clear indicators that Jesus cares: his conversations were comforting; and his care fed people – at the Cana wedding, the 5000 at the beach in Galilee, and He gave living water to a Samaritan woman and her relatives. His food and counsel bring peace to every thirsty soul that reaches out to receive from Him. The need for peace is real – at levels personal, institutional, national, regional and international. How many people are fighting within over food, unfulfilled goals, career and business choices, disappointments at work or in relationships…? Although he or she may look good on the outside, someone is inwardly fighting an abusive or deficient upbringing, inherited spiritual bondages, close people stealing property, or uncertainties about the future. And these very conflicts are the seeds that grow into costly armed wars we have seen at home, in South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, North Korea – all over the world.
I consider the highest expression of Jesus’ care to be his greeting, ‘Peace be with you!’ The food he gave brought temporary relief from the problem of hunger, but the Peace he gives brings everlasting welfare. ‘Shalom’ (‘Peace be with you’) was and still is a normal greeting among the peoples of Middle East; but just like the English may hastily respond, ‘Fine’ to the greeting ‘How are you?’ – even when troubled deep inside – one may not really feel or receive peace when they respond affirmatively to the ‘Peace’ greeting. It is now time to receive revitalizing effects from familiar words; the one speaking is not just throwing a casual greeting at you; His names include Prince of Peace and Wonderful Counselor. The reason most people will say ‘I am fine’ is because they don’t expect that person to do anything about their troubles. But Jesus is not like that person who greeted you and didn’t even wait to hear your response; Jesus Christ will stick by you and listen to more than you can share – tell him the real deep truth, and may His greeting of ‘Peace’ bring you comfort and joy. Jesus cares.
As we pray for peace in the world, let us recognize that it begins within one individual; let us therefore seek to receive from the Prince of Peace what we need to be restfully content – ‘cast your cares upon the Lord’. And let us be agents of this peace; encouraging someone and helping just one person overcome the battles within could arrest a looming strike or rebellion. In their fellowship, Jesus Christ spoke Peace to them twice before He commissioned the disciples. He knows the depth of our needs and will not rush away; be sure He is attentive to you.