A Time For Peace
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.
The word peace is mentioned in the Bible well over two hundred times. In the four Gospels, it is mentioned twenty-three times. In the Bible, Jesus is called The Prince of Peace and refers to himself as The Son of Peace. Peace is a very important word in the Bible and states Jesus’s strong desire for us to have peace. So what does peace in the Bible mean?
First, let’s start with the biblical definition of peace. I found two great quotes in my research that I think help us understand what peace means biblically. They are:
- Peace is the result of God’s presence in a person’s life as God is the source of peace (Psalm 85:8).
- It describes the state of those who love the Word of God (Psalm 1[19:16]5).
Now, these are very different than Webster’s dictionary’s definition, where it states; a state of tranquility or quiet.
The Bible directly relates peace as a result of God’s presence is a person’s life. A presence that is found through faith. A presence that is nurtured through the word of God. Now, this may seem like a small difference in meaning, but the biblical meaning is very different for Judeo-Christians.
Peace in a secular sense is that of a period of calm and tranquility. But because calm and tranquility in a worldly sense are not permanent, worldly peace then can’t be permanent. However, for Judeo-Christians, peace can be permanent through maintaining God’s presence in our lives. In other words, with God’s constant presence, periods of disruption should not affect a person’s state of mind.
Now, this last part about peace as a Biblical concept is very hard to maintain, but certainly, one to strive for. Peace in a biblical sense is more about how we react to disruption or events that make us angry. In each event that causes disruption, we have the choice to follow God’s word or our human instincts. This is the fundamental difference between the secular definition we find in the dictionary or the one we find in the Bible.
Specifically for Christians, the lessons, values, and ways of Jesus lead us to peace. This doesn’t mean we won’t have periods of disruptions, but peace occurs because of our response to disruptions. A response that is centered on having faith in Jesus.
In today’s verse we see this when Jesus says, 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. In this statement, Jesus is specifically talking about this difference through the statement of I do not give to you as the world gives. Jesus’s peace is one that we receive and has been freely given. One that is our protection from the disruptions of normal life.
In his statement, he leaves the message to not be worried or troubled. So from a Christian point of view, the main difference is how we react to disruptive events, and not that we won’t have disruptive events. Rather we are to stay calm in times of stress.
Jesus’s peace comes from our faith in Jesus as being in control of all things. Faith that periods of disruption are temporary and faith that Jesus’s peace given to us is permanent.
Biblically, our peace is disrupted when we move away from the words of Jesus. And this is our battle in finding peace. From a secular sense every day there will be disruption. And biblically we are asked to reorient ourselves completely to Christ when these disruptions occur.
This is so very hard to do. When we are slurred or wronged, we are not to strike back or get personal. It doesn’t mean we have to like it, rather it means we have to reframe our thinking to how we react. Still following Jesus’s peace is a very hard thing to do, one hundred percent of the time.
Things of injustice will always exist. But we should always seek justice. Not through violence designed to repay. Rather through positive actions that reverse injustice. In this activity, we help create peace.
We should always be committed to changing injustice, for if any person has been treated unfairly, they should always be defended. Peace is about how we resolve injustice.
And this is where the Biblical sense of peace takes over. Violence or retribution will never create peace or end injustice. And whatever amount of satisfaction that is achieved; we will find it strikingly unrewarding. But justice that is achieved through peaceful measures will be far more lasting.
It is easy to strike out at disruptive events, but the ease of violent reactions is what we should resist. It is harder to be peaceable and this extra effort is what Jesus requests.
Peace is what we all desire and what Jesus desires for us.
The ways of the world will always threaten peace. The ways of Jesus will always create peace.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
Photo by Christopher Sardegna on Unsplash