The Levitical or priestly blessing has been a mainstay for the Jews and Christians for millennia. The pronouncement of blessing, protection, acknowledgment, grace, favor, and peace pretty much sums up what a life with God should result in. What makes this tiny passage even more strange, yet intimate and comforting is that God states that this is God’s name. Perhaps not a name in the proper sense, but God’s name nonetheless. God’s name would then be Blessing Protecting Shining (i.e., “I see and acknowledge you”) Gracious Favoring Peace-Giving God.
When Jesus, therefore, sends out the disciples, they are being sent out on his (God’s) behalf to bestow peace upon others. So, think about this…they are to withdraw their peace from houses that do not respond. If peace is there…if God is there. If peace is not there…God is not there. There there is how peace is lived out. The disciples were to go to the first house that welcomed and accepted them. They were to go from house to house to get a better deal (certainly not the way our culture functions). Were they to do this, they would be contaminating God’s peace that they were sent with.
This becomes even more apparent in Jesus’ bestowing of peace on his 11 disciples on his final night with them (Judas had left at this point of the evening). They were no longer just sent with his peace (as they were before), but now they were bearers of his peace. It sounds similar, granted, but it is different. Similar to baby birds, they went out (previously) and came back. However, now it was time to leave the nest, and they had to carry forth on their own.
Yet, even on their own, Jesus still has to restore their peace, just as it is with us. They had just witnessed something horrible, evil, and unjust. Then they experience the unimaginable. Now they were, they felt, like sheep without their shepherd. This time, peace is the tranquility in the storm. Only Jesus can give it so deeply. Only when we embrace it do we receive it.