“19 That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
- Embrace His Peace
I wonder if the disciples’ first reaction to his presence was one of guilt and shame because they thought Jesus was going to rebuke them. But instead of blasting them, Jesus blesses them and said “Peace be with you!” I’m sure this startled them because it wasn’t what they were expecting at all. Many of us have a perverted view of God, seeing Him as a punisher instead a provider of peace. We don’t embrace His peace because we expect punishment. This greeting of peace in the Jewish culture is the word shalom, a state of wholeness and harmony that is intended to resonate in all relationships. When used as a greeting, shalom was a wish for outward freedom from disturbance as well as an inward sense of well-being. To a people constantly harassed by enemies, peace was the premiere blessing. In Numbers 6:24-26, God gave Moses these words to use when blessing His people: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” The New Testament describes at least three spheres of peace:
Peace with God – this is the vertical dimension. Romans 5:1 says: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our sin separates us from God, but the Saviors sacrifice puts us at peace with God. This is a Saving peace. Next there is the:
Peace of God – this takes place internally. Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is a Securing peace. Third there is:
Peace with others – when we have peace with God and we experience the peace of God, we can then extend peace horizontally. Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.” Jesus didn’t call us to be “peacekeepers,” but “peacemakers.” Fear tends to bring friction and factions but peace provides a platform to confront conflict, so that we can complement others instead of competing with them. We are called to be peace workers not war workers. This is a Serving peace
Do you want to live in His peace or in the panic? Jesus offers you peace today but it’s different than the peace the world offers. Our culture communicates that peace is the absence of something. That’s probably what the disciples were thinking as they tried to lock out their worries and concerns. But peace is not the absence of problems it’s the presence of Christ. Because of Jesus we can have:
Peace with our past. Because of His forgiveness we don’t have to live in the failure and the fear of our past. We can have peace with our present. What are you worried about right now? Your marriage? Your finances? A health issue? Jesus came to “bind up our brokenness” (Isaiah 61:1). We can have peace with our future. Some of you are fretting about the future because you have forgotten about His faithfulness. Do you want this peace or are you content to cower in the corner? Stop locking yourself behind thick walls, and embrace His perfect peace. Contrary to our culture peace doesn’t come from popping pills it only comes from Christ. Do you have a saving peace, have you accepted Christ as your only Savior from sin? What about a securing peace, not just peace with God but the peace of God? Are you living in the provision of His peace, trusting in Him? What about a serving peace? When it comes to His peace many of us are living selfish, self-centered lives, we are satisfied to have His peace but not to share it. What about you have you settled for a saving and securing peace but are unwilling to also have a serving peace? When we accept His peace but are unwilling to share it it’s not long before we lose it. We become like the Dead Sea, which surprisingly has the same source of water as the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River. Yet unlike the Sea of Galilee that is teaming with life, it is dead. How can there been such a stark differences between two seas with the same water source, simple the Dead Sea has no outflow. When we take in but never give out its not long before we become stagnant and start to stink. Maybe the reason you have no peace is because you are living a selfish life instead of sharing one. What about you are you embracing the provision of His peace, or are you trying to get your peace through man made mechanisms?