Jesus doesn’t rebuke his disciples for deserting him when he first appears to them as a group after his resurrection. Instead he expresses his love and forgiveness in three simple words – “Peace to you.” He doesn’t send “guilt” upon them. He doesn’t shame them with what they did, he simply wishes them peace. Psalm 103:13-14 says, “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” The passage I’m looking at now, Luke 24:37-38, informs us that the disciples sure do “fear the Lord.” It says, “But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.” You’ve heard the expression “he looks like he had seen a ghost.” Well these disciples must have truly looked that way because they thought they did see a ghost. Half the translations I looked at used the word “terrified” instead of “frightened.” I suspect it was a pretty profound emotion.

Then in verse 38, Jesus asks them a question. Now we have to see this as a legitimate question. Sometimes we see Jesus’ questions as the kind of questions our parents asked us, or a teacher, or a policeman or our bosses. Jesus once asked his disciples “Why do you call me Lord and not do what I tell you to do?” That’s been seen as an accusation designed to arouse shame so they would try harder. My father asked me questions like that: “Why did you do that? What were you thinking?” But his questions were indeed designed to arouse shame and to guilt me into becoming a better person. That might have worked for a little while but not for long.  I’d argue Jesus never stooped to such tactics. He truly wanted his disciples to think about their true sinfulness so that they’d become more deeply aware of their need for a Savior. Jesus wanted them to come to repentance and then he’d step up as the Savior.

The question in verse 38 is stated this way, “And he said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?’” He wasn’t trying to shame them or arouse guilt, but to get them to think about “why” they were afraid, why they were troubled and doubted. You see, there was no need to be afraid. Jesus is our Savior and theirs. He did come back from the dead. He did conquer the grave. They did not need to worry or be troubled. He had it all under control. It reminds me of His words to them before the crucifixion. He said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1). The resurrection assures us of our eternal destiny and therefore God wants us to be at peace with all of our “troubles” and cares in this life, even COVID-19! He knows our frame and that we are but dust. He understands us and our trials but still says to us “Peace to You.”