Monday, January 4, 2021

Peace on Earth in 2020

 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” – John 14:27

The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom.” It’s one of the most important words to the Jewish people. For centuries, Jews have greeted each other with the one-word greeting, “Shalom!” To the orthodox Jew, “shalom” is used both as a “hello” and a “goodbye.” But it means so much more than “hello” and “goodbye.” Shalom is most often translated into English as “peace” or “harmony.” But shalom literally means “wholeness.” In Joshua 8:31, we’re told that Joshua made an altar out of “shalom” stones—meaning stones that were uncut. They were completely whole.

So, if shalom refers to wholeness, what exactly is a Jewish man wishing his neighbor when he wishes him “shalom”? He is wishing him wholeness in his health, wholeness in his marriage and wholeness in his walk with God. Ever since the Garden of Eden, human beings have been breaking things. Thinking back, have you broken something valuable this past year? It may have been a cellphone or a collar bone. Some of us broke our cars this year. And at some point, most of us broke our budgets this year.

We are very good at breaking things—including our relationships. At some time or another, most of us have broken relationships with our neighbors, friends or family members. To say it another way: We have broken “shalom” with our neighbors, with our friends, and with our family members.  But worst of all: Every single one of us has broken shalom with God. And the Bible is clear that the punishment for breaking shalom with God is death. As we’re told in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.”

But because of God’s amazing grace through Christ, we don’t have to pay the price of eternal brokenness and punishment. As our all-wise Wonderful Counselor, Jesus had the perfect plan to bring us shalom with God. He decided to trade his reward for our punishment. And as our all-powerful Mighty God, Jesus had the strength to resist every temptation so that he could be a perfect substitute sacrifice for our sins. And as our all-loving Everlasting Father, Jesus loved us enough to endure the pain and humiliation of the cross until our debt was fully paid.

Because of what Jesus did for us, you and I can have peace with God. We broke our relationship with God, but Jesus came to earth to offer us shalom. Jesus traded His SHALOM with God for our BROKENNESS. When the angels shouted in the Bethlehem sky, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth shalom to men on whom His favor rests,” they were talking about wholeness. They wanted people to know that Jesus offers us shalom in our broken relationships with other people. But most of all, they wanted us to know that Jesus offers us shalom in our broken relationship with God. Jesus came to put back together what you and I had broken into a million pieces. As Jesus told his disciples in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”

Nowadays most people seem to think that peace comes from good counseling sessions, self-help books or from putting the right guy in the White House. All of these things have their place, but none of them brings true, lasting shalom. No psychologist can bring wholeness to a broken marriage. Joel Osteen’s best book can’t make a person whole. And neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden can bring true and lasting wholeness to our fractured nation. Only Jesus Christ can. Only the Prince of Peace can completely heal a broken marriage, mend a broken soul, and bring true harmony to our fractured nation.

To those of us who are willing to accept it, the word of God is clear: Jesus IS the Prince of Peace; Jesus is the only one who offers true, lasting wholeness. He is the only one who can restore the relationships that you and I have broken. And he specializes in bringing peace to our broken relationship with God.

Honestly, 2020 has been a really hard year. Covid has been devastating. Seeing cities across America being looted and burned has been heart-wrenching. The presidential election was excruciating. Our kids’ schools have closed, many of us have lost our jobs, and many of us have lost friends and family this year. Other family and friends have been diagnosed with cancer.

But regardless of how depressing this past year has been, you can experience true peace in 2021—because Jesus IS the Prince of Peace. He is smart enough, strong enough and loving enough to bring wholeness to your life. Regardless of what’s broken in your life and how it got that way, I urge you to give Jesus Christ your broken pieces this New Year. He is the only one who can make you whole. That’s why he came to earth in the first place. He is ready and willing to be your Wonderful Counselor, your Mighty God, your Everlasting Father, and your Prince of Peace. And He’s just a prayer away.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on our YouTube channel (Impact Christian Church) or on Facebook. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.

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