Peace Given To Us

This week we will engage with Advent through the lens of peace. A few weeks ago, my pastor highlighted that we do not have a soul, but we are a soul that has a body. I love this distinction. It is very helpful in understanding the peace that Jesus brings.

We so often think about peace as an external situation. The Hebrew word for peace, however, is shalom. This word is about completeness or wholeness. It is about a restoration to the way something was created to be. God created everything to exist in peace and harmony. It is sin that distorts this.

The peace that Israel anticipated was that of restoration to how the world was meant to be. What Jesus restored was the very soul. I love the story in Mark 2:1-12 (give the story a read) of Jesus healing the paralytic man. Jesus tells him “your sins have been forgiven” and the religious teachers begin to question his authority. Jesus in turn, to prove his authority, tells the man to pick up his mat and walk. The true peace this man received was the forgiveness of sins. The torment of the soul from the plague of sin was stopped. Wholeness, rightness, and peace comes in this statement from Jesus. His first words were not pick up your mat and walk, but rather, your sins are forgiven.

The invitation to repentance is the peace Jesus brings. He invites us to leave behind the divided way of living and step into the life we were created for. This invitation is for all of us. For this world to experience peace, this is what is needed. An end to violence and sickness is not going to be realized in this world, but we who are at peace do not contribute to this. In fact, we invite others into the peace of Christ. Wherever we go, the peace of Christ within us has influence on those around us. They experience a rightness that comes from the restoration Jesus brings.

At the same time, we are anticipating a day when we are free from this world, and our surroundings and not just our souls are at peace. When Jesus returns, we are brought out of this place and into a place that is truly at peace, where there is freedom and order, where there is no ailment for anyone or anything.

In this season of anticipation of the world to come, we are invited into knowing the gift of what Jesus brings. This gift is peace for today. Take some time to invite the peace of Christ into your life. Ask God to expose what is not right, and hand it over to him. Just like the paralytic man, Jesus wants to give us a soul at peace.

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