This week we welcome guest blogger, David Hundert, who is a Master of Divinity student at Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, PA.
What else does Jesus say about peace? In John 14:27, Jesus, in the midst of telling the disciples that he was going away, is trying to comfort them. Jesus states,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Then first half of the very next verse, Jesus tells them that He is going away, but He is coming back! He wants them to trust. He leaves them with the peace of knowing that He will be back!
In Romans 5:1, Paul uses the same Greek word for peace that Jesus uses,
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The word here for “peace,” is the Greek word “irene,” a multifaceted word. In one definition it could mean “a state of concord, of peace and harmony.” If you think of it in terms of two governments, it would mean that they are at peace with each other. They’re not at war. It would mean that they are out of danger. On a personal level, “irene” could be harmony in personal relationships. Within the body of Christ, it could mean to have peace and rest. It’s used to encourage us to make peace, to strive to be at peace. “Irene” is a state of well-being. Most of all, it’s the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word, “shalom”; welfare, health, harmony and everything else we discussed in previous posts.
Both Jesus and Paul are saying that since we have been justified through faith, if we trust Him, all of those synonyms for the word “peace” apply to us with our relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ! Can you imagine? We were once enemies with God, and now we are in harmony; we are in a state of concord, we are at peace with God.
I don’t know about you, but for me, that is really hard to grasp! Have you ever had that kind of peace in your life? Would you like that kind of peace in your life? How different would your life be right now if you could experience that kind of peace? More importantly, what would it take to obtain that kind of peace?
In the previous post, I mentioned that there were two analogies that the Lord uses a lot to describe that type of peace. The first is a shepherd, and the second one is that of a child. Think back for a minute when you were a child; did you have that kind of peace? What brought you peace as a child? Knowing that your basic needs were met? Knowing that you had no worries ahead? What does the Lord says about children?
In response to the disciples asking who will be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, he says in Matthew 18:3-4,
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
One of my commentaries states that this teaching focused on this one child is a model for true discipleship. To be a true disciple, we need to become like a child. What does it mean to become like a child? We all can’t turn back the clock as the Pharisee Nicodemus mentions, so we know Jesus didn’t mean to physically become like a child. Now I’ve heard that growing older is mandatory, but growing up is optional so mentally, there is an argument that can be made that some of us never grow up. I’d like to submit that the way that we become like children is in the way that we “trust.”
In the next post we take a look at trust.