I'm not a big fan of horror movies, but I've seen enough to know the basic premise. Some poor soul was cruelly and unjustly put to death, and now the "ghost" of the victim is out for revenge.
Wait a minute! Doesn't that scenario describe what happened to Jesus? Was he not cruelly and unjustly put to death on a cross? Did not one of his associates betray him? Didn't his first officer deny he had ever met him? Did they not all abandon him in his hour of trial?
Is it any wonder Jesus had to say it three times for it to sink in? "Peace be with you." "Peace be with you." "Peace be with you." Jesus is not out for revenge. He gave himself willingly, in love. He breathes on us the Spirit of forgiveness and Shalom.
Can it be true, O Risen Lord? You come not to condemn us, not to remind us of our failures. You come with words of peace. You breathe on us the fresh air of forgiveness. Help us to inhale slowly and deeply. Amen.
John 20:19-23 (NRSV)
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!"
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
22 And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."