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How is peace possible?

December 21, 2010 3 Comments

by James Luke


“Aslam-u-alaikum”

“Shalom”

These are two “magic words” used by our Muslim and Jewish friends when they meet their cohorts in faith. Both expressions mean “Peace be with you.” These words of recognition and reassurance are necessary in a society where every second person could be an enemy.

But there is an absence of peace even in the West. We know people do drugs and indulge in various activities to find peace. The absence of peace is a cause for sin and guilt, like a volcano that may seem dormant for some time, but when it erupts it destroys not only the body but the soul.

The irony is that as much as we want peace with each other, the world is torn apart by pain, strife and turmoil. We try to find peace individually by relaxing at a resort, perhaps, or finding peaceful surroundings. Of course, this gives only temporary relief from life’s daily distractions, worries and anxieties.

All nations claim to seek peace, but we see more trouble every day. The United Nations tries its best to bring about peace, with a mandate that includes:

“…commitments to eradicate war, promote human rights, maintain respect for justice and international law, promote social progress and friendly relations, and use the Organization as a center to harmonize [its] actions in order to attain these ends. “

But to quote Dag Hammarskjold, former UN Secretary General:

“I see no hope for a permanent world peace. We have tried hard and failed miserably. Unless there is a spiritual awakening on a worldwide scale, civilization is doomed.”

Please don’t misunderstand, the UN is doing wonderful work, but this is all human effort, which cannot bring about the peace Christ brings into the hearts of the people who are shouting “Hosanna, hosanna.” Jesus talks about this peace in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

What a great legacy the Saviour left with His followers: the peace only He can give

In the Gospel according to St. Mathew, chapter 21, we read about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Everyone, including the disciples, thinks Jesus will bring about peace through war, through revolution—but His peace comes instead through eternal love. The disciples face trying times as they are soon to be sent out as lambs among the wolves to move forward Christ’s commission.

What a great legacy the Saviour left with His followers: the peace only He can give. This is the peace the heavenly hosts sang at the birth of our Lord: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). 

Those who tremble before the ominous events soon to come are told to be neither troubled nor afraid. In this blessed assurance they must rejoice, for the one whom they love will soon return home to His Father through His death on the cross. 

Peace is a fundamental dimension of humanness that was broken in the Garden of Eden because fullness of peace cannot be achieved without a proper relationship to God. We ignore God, we dismiss Him, we even fight Him. At times we embrace religion and religiosity without ever encountering God, our Maker.

When Christ talks about peace, He is not talking about a temporary cease-fire.

The Bible paints vivid pictures of a broken society: “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter” (Isaiah 59:14).

“They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace” (Jeremiah 8:11).

So is there a solution to this brokenness of peace? Yes! When Christ talks about peace, He is not talking about a temporary cease-fire.

The first and foremost solution is having a loving relationship between God and us. No one can be completely at rest without having peace with God. The centre and foundation of all the peace-giving power of Jesus Christ is this: that in His death, by His one offering for sin forever, He has swept away the cause of our in-born antagonism and made peace between the Father in heaven and the rebellious prodigal children here below. Jesus is our peace and only He can say, “Peace I leave with you.”

We must also have peace with ourselves. There must be no stinging conscience, unsatisfied desires, no inner schisms between inclination and duty, reason and will, passion and judgment, but a quiet and harmonized nature. This can only be achieved by cleaving to Jesus Christ and making Him our Lord, our righteousness, our aim and our all. Take Him for your treasure and you are rich indeed. True tranquillity will prevail in your life, a tranquillity that is everlasting.

A right relationship with God cannot be achieved by human effort; it is only possible as a gift from Jesus Christ—the gift He brought as a small vulnerable child in the manger and which He left with His disciples when he returned to heaven. This is the gift of eternal peace. It is the inward quiet that no distress of mind or body can destroy. This peace is trust and confidence in Lord God in all circumstances—a  peace the world cannot give, but only Jesus can. This peace is established by His death as we read in Colossians 1:20, “making peace by the blood of His cross.”

True righteousness brings peace that penetrates our hearts

We know today that the miracle has already happened—the miracle of God’s forgiveness which is no simple matter. It is very costly—but to whom? To God Himself, because He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who had to suffer sacrificial death on the cross. He paid our penalty once and forever. He invites us to receive it and be forgiven.

Jeremiah wrote, 400 years before Christ’s birth: “ ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will raise up…a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely” (Jeremiah 23:5).

True righteousness brings peace that penetrates our hearts. This peace is available through Jesus only, which the World cannot give. The other day I saw a bumper sticker that said: “No Jesus, no peace.” How true! Let us share His peace with our neighbours who may be of any faith. Let them know that the Peace of Christ is the only solution.

Rev. James Luke is intercultural minister/Greater Toronto Area missionary with Lutheran Church­­–Canada’s East District

3 Comments »

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  • Mark Harding said:

    Thank you Pastor for this article. God has promised that He will not flood the world ever again and gives us a sign, the rainbow Gen 9:8-17. God promised salvation through Abraham to all nations. God gave us a sign there too! Luke 2:8-13. And every Christmas we see that sign. For those who live in Del el Harb and in darkness as the Muslims do because of the teachings of Islam, we must remember to tell them about the wonderful signs that God has given us. His peace through the sign of His rainbow, and the sign of His only begotten Son Jesus, who being born in a stable and wrapped in swaddling cloths became a sign of peace and Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, good will toward men! May God, the true God of Israel, give the church the boldness to proclaim the truth to many Muslims in Canada this year. Allah of Islam is not the God of Israel and Muhammad is a false prophet, this is the truth that they desperately need to hear before they can know the true Jesus and not the one found in the Quran that says Jesus never died on a cross. Muhammad taught that he himself was not a sinner, Muhammad tries to be our God. I hope that God moves more Lutherans to have compassion and love for these Muslim victims and share the gospel of Jesus with them. God bless your evanglism efforts Pastor Luke and Merry Christmas to you and your family.
    Mark Harding

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