March 27

O greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong! Daniel 10:19 NKJV

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27

There are many things that we fear such as icy weather with slippery sidewalks and roads, or loss of a job or illness. There may be people we are afraid of like bullies. Daniel experiences fear when he encounters fear when he meets a messenger from God. It seems that angels are very scary when they show up to share their messages. The disciples were very afraid as Jesus is explaining that He will be leaving them, alone as they think, among people who don’t like Him very well.

Daniel has a scary vision; he sees a man in white linen and becomes afraid, and weak. He asks how he can possibly talk with this apparent man who comes from his Lord. He can barely breathe and is overcome with weakness. Apparently for 3 weeks before this vision he has been mourning, praying and “eating no pleasant food “. Then he hears the words of the messenger who says he was delayed for 21 days but is now there to tell Daniel that he is greatly beloved by God. Further, he does not need to fear. He will have peace and will be strong. God has heard his prayer and responded by sending an angel to convey this message of peace and strength.

Jesus reassures His disciples and letting them know that they will be fine after Jesus returns to heaven. He uses the traditional greeting of peace, of shalom, but, according to my NIV Bible study notes, “in an unusual way.” Here peace means “the salvation that Christ’s redemptive work will achieve for his disciples . . . total well-being and inner rest of spirit.” This is not peace as the world understands it, but the peace that only our Lord can give. The angels sang about peace on earth at Jesus’ birth, the disciples are greeted after the resurrection by Jesus saying Peace be with you. The peace that God sends is there throughout all of history and it is for us too. We will still feel fear, but can rest assured that the peace of God is right there for us to claim.

God of peace, your way is not like the way of the world. Our souls rejoice in hearing that we are your greatly beloved. When troubles would tell us that we are helpless and weak, help us again hear your voice calling us “Beloved.”  Do not let fear control us, but let us stand strong in your loving kindness sharing your Good News with others. In Jesus’ name,  Amen

Chris Gabel