ONLY IN JESUS CAN WE HAVE PEACE, MAKE PEACE AND BRING PEACE.
WEEK 1: HAVE PEACE – LISTEN OR WATCH
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” – John 5:21
Sometimes,the Bible is just flat out confusing and it even seems to contradict itself. Take for example peace. Did Jesus come to the earth to bring peace or not? And if Jesus really was here to bring peace….why isn’t it here yet? We’d all like to have peace – in our world, in our country, in our neighborhood, in our marriage, in our home, and in our minds….but how do we get it?
A Jewish person would define peace as much, much more than the lack of fighting. They would say that it’s not just the absence of something….it’s the inclusion of many things. It’s completeness – it’s wholeness. “Shalom” is the Hebrew word that is translated into our word “peace”. We’ll define PEACE / SHALOM simply as “the way things are supposed to be”.
Jews believed that there was once true shalom in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve (Gen 1:31). This shalom was broken when Adam & Eve turned away from God and ate of the forbidden fruit (Gen 3:6). This was the first sin and the point in which sin entered the world for the first time…..breaking Shalom. Because of that sin – everything broke…..evil, war, sickness, tragedy, suffering, pain, injustice, guilt, lust, and even death – entered the world. Because of Sin —> Shalom ended (Rom 5:12)
The Jews longed for a way for Shalom to return. God had promised to send them a Messiah to His chosen people (pick your fav messianic prophesy :-). They waited for thousands of years……generation after generation….they waited. And then…..Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:41). But they weren’t sure it was the Messiah. And it sure didn’t look like it when Jesus was arrested, crucified, and buried.
But Jesus rose from the dead and appeared before his disciples and others over a 40-day period (Matt 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20). When appearing in a locked room before His disciples, the risen Jesus repeats the phrase “Peace be with you” three times (John 20:19, John 20:21, John 20:26). Just as Jesus was sent by His Father (God) bring peace, He called His disciples to to go out into the world…..to reach others….to share peace (John 20:21).
One of Jesus’ Jewish disciples, Thomas, makes a profound statement when he declares Jesus as “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28). He acknowledges Jesus as one true Creator God of the Universe. Only God could have restored the shalom that was broken in the Garden and He needed to die on a cross to accomplish it (Luke 24: 44-47). The best way to restore shalom, to bring things back to the way they were supposed to be, was to fix the root cause by addressing the sin of man. Jesus came so that all who trust Him can have peace!
WEEK 2: MAKE PEACE – LISTEN OR WATCH
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.” – Matthew 5:9
Peacemakers are those who actively pursue God-glorifying, Christ-centered, cross-focused peace with God, with the people of God and with all men. They preserve peace where it is and bring peace where it is not.
Beware of PEACEBREAKING (Romans 16:17-18) and PEACEFAKING (Jeremiah 6:14).
THREE ARENAS IN WHICH WE ARE TO “MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO DO WHAT LEADS TO PEACE” (Romans 14:19):
- Pursue peace with God – Romans 5:1
- Pursue peace with the people of God – 1 Peter 3:8-11, Romans 12:16, Colossians 3:15
- Pursue peace with all men – Romans 12:18, Hebrews 12:14
PEACEMAKING IS MISSIONAL: John 20:19-21, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, Romans 10:13-15
GOD’S TERMS FOR PEACE – THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST: Isaiah 52:7, Ephesians 2:14-17
As sons & daughters of the living God, our identity in Christ is foundational to peacemaking; we do not make peace in order to become peacemakers, rather, we make peace because it is intrinsic to our identity in Christ. As peacemakers, we are representing and emulating Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), the son of the God of Peace (Romans 15:33, Philippians 4:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Peacemaking is not ushering in the absence of pain and conflict, but rather bringing peace into places of conflict, despite the pain – whether our own or others’. If the peace we have or the peace we bring comes only from a circumstance or situation, then a situation or a circumstance can take that peace away. Therefore, have, make and bring peace that rests in the power and grace of the gospel.
WEEK 3: BRING PEACE – LISTEN OR WATCH
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:10
In bringing peace, peacemakers can expect persecution. This is not necessarily the general persecution we all experience by living in a broken world; rather, this specific persecution will be directly related to the righteousness that we have in Jesus. (Matthew 5:10-12, 2 Timothy 3:12)
There are 2 general responses to righteousness – and thus to peacemaking – being inserted into a broken world. People will come to the light or they will hate the light (John 3:19-21, 2 Corinthians 2:15-16).
Despite the promise of persecution, we are called to go out into the word and be SALT & LIGHT (Matthew 5:13-16). Salt adds flavor and acts as a preservative. Light illuminates, holds back darkness.
The most foundational step to having peace in your life is to receive the peace that only comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ, then we must circle back to that constantly.