“5 And into whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace be to this household!” 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on him. But if not, it will return to you.” (Luke 10)
The word itself is powerful. Peace. Sitting outside as the world wakes up and the birds take up the song from the crickets and the sun comes peeking over the trees in the East (peace) it has a force like a distant church bell, like a velvet hammer kissing a sea of silver, stilling, calming, ripples fading, laying down to a mirror. Rest. Harmony. Everything sweetly secure in its place.
Absence of war. Freedom from violence. From strife. From calamity. From harm. From disturbance. From shame. From guilt. From fear. Tranquility. Serenity. These are not peace… these are the signs of peace. The evidence of residence. For Peace is not an emotion, a state of being, a feeling or goal.
Peace is a person.
“22 And Gideon realized that he was the angel of Yahweh; and Gideon said, “Oh, my lord Yahweh! For now I have seen the angel of Yahweh face to face.” 23 And Yahweh said to him, “Peace be with you. Do not fear; you will not die.” 24 And Gideon built there an altar to Yahweh, and he called it “Yahweh is peace.” (Judges 6)
“7 Show us, O Yahweh, your loyal love,
and grant us your salvation.
8 I will hear what God, Yahweh, will speak,
because he will speak peace to his people,
even his faithful ones,
but let them not return to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is near for those who fear him,
that glory may abide in our land.
10 Loyal love and faithfulness will meet one another;
righteousness and peace will kiss.” (Ps 85)
“6 For a child has been born for us;
a son has been given to us.
And the dominion will be on his shoulder,
and his name is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Is 9)
Yahweh is Peace! Jesus is the Son of God, the Prince of Peace. The bumper sticker is right, the only way to know peace is to be in relationship with God. The only way to be in relationship with God is through His son! “5 Therefore, because we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” (Rom 5)
Yes, we are no longer enemies of God! Yes, we are no longer under condemnation and wrath for our rebellion! Yes, we have what you might call a political peace with God. A cessation of hostilities. (Not that one could honestly say God has been hostile to us, since His blessings never ceased even while we were enemies!) Yes, this alone is cause for rejoicing and celebration in the streets but it is so much more than this! This is such an anemic understanding of Peace.
It fails to understand, there can be no peace without love! Peace isn’t just the absence of ill will. Apathy could be the absence of ill will. Peace is the desire for your good! It is the desire for good will! “11 For I know the plans that I am planning concerning you,’ declares Yahweh, ‘plans for prosperity and not for harm, to give to you a future and a hope. 12 Then when you call me, and you come and pray to me, then I will listen to you. 13 When you search for me, then you will find me, if you seek me with all your heart. 14 And I will let myself be found by you,’ declares Yahweh…” (Jer 29) “13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace
among people with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2)
All of God’s promises to us; all of Jesus’ promises to us; forgiveness; eternal life; a place where he is, in his house; to guide us; to give us the Holy Spirit; come down to this, “27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you—not as the world gives, I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14) Why aren’t we to be troubled? Why aren’t we to be afraid? Because all is going positively swimmingly for us? Because nothing bad can or will happen to us? Because we are rich, beautiful, young, healthy and successful in all we put our hands to?
Well, maybe you are. But for the rest of us, the answer to most of that is, “Nooooo, no, not so much.” Then why? How can we be at peace? How can we be untroubled and unafraid in an increasingly unstable world? In an environment that seems ever more hostile to us with each passing day? How if recession becomes depression? How if those we love have cancer? How if the hurricane is pressing in on us? How if war, famine, pestilence, death and anti-christ ride to and fro upon the earth? How can we have Peace?
“32 Behold, an hour is coming—and has come—that you will be scattered each one to his own home, and you will leave me alone. And I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have affliction, but have courage! I have conquered the world.” (John 16)
“21 At that same time he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to young children. Yes, Father, for this was pleasing before you. 22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wants to reveal him.” (Luke 10)
How? Because we know who our Father is.