How is it that the closest followers of Jesus experienced the most pain? Take a look at these examples:
- Judas, one of the original twelve followers, committed suicide.
- James, son of Alpheus, was thrown down from the temple by church leaders and stoned. A fuller's club was used to beat his brains out.
- Thomas was killed with a lance.
- Andrew was crucified.
- James, son of Zebedee, was put to death by Herod Agrippa I.
- Peter was crucified upside down.
- The Gospel writer, Paul, was likely tortured and beheaded by the emperor Nero.
For me, the answer is simple...it depends on where you are looking. If you only see what is on the outside, it appears there is no peace. If you look into the hearts of those who follow Jesus, you will find no paradox of peace. It's the kind of peace that says, "I love you and I'm willing to give up my life for you. You can throw stones at me, strike me with a lance, crucify me upside down, torture me, or even chop off my head, but you cannot ever take away my peace."
Peace be with you.