Some time ago a friend sent me an email with these encouraging words. “I read an article that said the way to achieve inner peace is to finish things that you start.
“Today I finished two bags of potato chips, a chocolate pie, a large vanilla shake and a small box of candy. I feel better already!”
People today are seeking peace. Peace of mind. Heart. Soul. People pursue peace through possessions. Pleasure. And passion. And yet there is inner turmoil. Conflict. Confusion. And consternation.
Political leaders have fared no better in established world peace. While I can’t vouch for the accuracy of these statistics, Guy McGraw says, “In over 3400 years of recorded world history, the world has only been at peace 8% of the time or a total of 286 years, and over 8000 treaties have been made and broken. During this period there have been 14,531 wars, large and small, in which 3,640,000,000 people have been killed.”
There is only one answer to real peace. His name is “Jesus.” The prophet Isaiah calls Him “The Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6) To the apostles, Jesus promised, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn. 14:27). And Paul affirms, “He is our Peace” (Eph. 2:14)
Ironically, the Friday of Jesus’ death was anything but peaceful. The Jewish court was conspiring to kill Him. Judas was betraying Him. And Peter who wielded the sword to protect Him, ended by denying Him. Peace?
Suborned Witness would perjure themselves. The frenzied mob would cry “Crucify Him!” And cowardly Pilate would take the path of less resistance. Peace?
Jesus would be brutally beaten. Shamefully mocked. And Cruelly killed. Peace?
Yet, the cross, an instrument of suffering, shame and death, would become a symbol of peace. The Bible expresses it this way:
“For in (Jesus) all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Col. 1:19-20, ESV)
The cross is the great paradox of all history. Friday’s ruckus resulted in Sunday’s resurrection. Defeat gave way to victory. Tumult resulted in triumph. And death was overcome by Him who is “The Life.” Peace? Yes!
The risen Redeemer appeared to the apostles saying, “Peace, be unto you.” It was more than just a greeting. It was the foretaste of things to come.
Peace to reconcile sinners to God. Peace to unite all people into one spiritual Family. Peace to ease the pain of a nagging conscience. Peace to soothe the troubled soul. Peace to heal the broken heart. Peace to calm the raging storm.
Jesus is the purveyor of peace. When he was born the angelic chorus sang,
Gory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” In his life he preached peace. Even to those who were disenfranchised and estranged from God. The means of his death has become the world-wide emblem of peace. His gospel is the good news of peace.
Jesus is the essence of peace. The embodiment of peace. The incarnation of peace. The personification of peace. The person of peace. My personal peace.
Today He rules and reigns in heaven, as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. And his message from the beloved John is “Grace and peace to you!”
It’s Friday. But Sunday’s Coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman