Pastor Chris White
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” –John 14:27
The Christian faith stands alone in the world as “Crucicentric” meaning it is centered upon the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on a cross. Remove the cross and sacrifice of Jesus and you might have a moral compass or some wise ideas to draw from, but you wouldn’t have authentic Christianity. The Cross of Jesus has multiple implications for human flourishing but in this series my focus will be on four types of peace the Lord brings to our hearts because of his sacrifice.
The first peace is Shalom. Shalom is a greeting used today by millions of Jewish and Arabic speakers. Used as such, it is nothing more than a simple as hello or goodbye, but Shalom has a deeper meaning. In the Bible, the Shalom of God speaks of well-being, wholeness, soundness, completeness, harmony, and tranquility. Remember waking up early as a child and suddenly realizing it was Saturday and you didn’t have to get ready for school? You just rolled over and half-asleep thought of the fort you were going to build with your buddies in the afternoon. That feeling is merely a glimpse of shalom.
The very night of his betrayal, in the full knowledge of the horrific death he was about to suffer, the Lord was concerned about the well-being of his disciples. I would have wanted to be comforted by my friends but Jesus offers his comfort to them. When he says let not your heart be troubled or be afraid, he is not telling them to whistle in the dark or sing a happy tune and get a grip on their feelings. He is looking past the trauma and what is ultimately to be accomplished.
Not only will there be the complete remission of all our sins and the righteousness of God given to each believer, but he will be sending the Holy Spirit to indwell everyone who trusts in Him. The Holy Spirit, sent after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, will create a new heart in us (Jeremiah 31) which will make possible a progressive wholeness and harmony with God. The presence of the Spirit in our lives is also the assurance that God’s grace is operative in our lives and that in death we will be resurrected to an eternal life of beatitude in heaven.
The world does offer an alternative peace. That peace comes in the form of large bank accounts, life-saving medical treatments, items to be smoked or ingested, beautiful children who get straight A’s and never misbehave in school, freeze-dried food, gold coins and enough guns to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, even a good university education that will secure a good job and a bright future. I’m not suggesting these are bad things, (well, maybe a couple of them are!) but the world’s goods are always subject to reversal of fortune and if lost, so is your peace and well-being.
The peace Christ gives, the shalom of God, is available to everyone and cannot be lost, taken away or subject to change. This peace was purchased with Christ’s blood at the cross and it is a transaction that stands for eternity.
May you know His Peace today!