THIS SERIES: FINDING WINTER’S REST
Our world is in desperate need of answers—not some sticking plasters, or a papering over the cracks—but deep internal surgery, resulting in changed hearts and transformed lives.
The coming of Emmanuel is God’s solution. With Jesus’ birth the Prince of Peace came into our world; and according to Isaiah, the alternative government and deep peace brought by this ruler would continue to increase forever [Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV]—see the last post.
This theme was taken up by Zechariah the father of John the Baptist. The Coming One would not only give light to those experiencing darkness, but would also guide people into the way of peace [Luke 1:79].
And of course ‘peace on earth’, was part of the announcement given by the angels to the shepherds.
Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.
This heavenly peace has largely been reduced to a sentimental ‘feel-good’ atmosphere surrounding our festivities. However, peace is a hugely powerful concept in Scripture. The Old Testament term for it, is the wonderfully rich word, ‘shalom’, which includes the following in its meaning:
The first mention of a word in Scripture is usually seen as significant. The first time ‘shalom’ is used in the Old Testament is in the context of covenant commitment to Abraham, when the Lord promised, ‘You shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age’ [Gen 15:15 NKJV].
Abraham is the picture of the blessed life, (God had promised, ‘I will bless you and you will be a blessing‘ [Genesis 12:2]). All the blessing of shalom became Abraham's, and he did indeed die in peace. And it was God’s intention that we too could inherit these promises to Abraham—in all their fullness [Galatians 3:29 ].
The New Testament word for peace is eirene and has a similar breadth of meaning. The first time it is used is in Matthew 10:13:
‘If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it;
if it is not, let your peace return to you.’
Not only do we have an amazing covenant promise of peace for ourselves, but it is ours to give away, to release in the lives of others.
The Prince of Peace has come. By His suffering on the cross, Jesus purchased peace for us:
The punishment that brought us peace (shalom) was on Him,
and by His wounds we are healed.
This Christmas, let’s stir up our faith to receive what Jesus paid such a price to give us, and then let’s release it on our households and neighbourhoods. We can be the means by which Kingdom Peace invades our world, one person, one household, one community at a time
THIS WEEK’S GRACE RHYTHM:
Begin to lift other people into that ‘circle of grace’.
Learn more about THE POWER OF THE CROSS described in Isaiah 53, by clicking the link
NEXT WEEK: CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT THE COMING OF OUR SAVIOUR-REDEEMER
Nothing is impossible for Him!
GET IN TOUCH!
[Photo credits: Debbie Hudson (nativity); Robert Thiemann (ornament); Keira Auf de Heide (writing materials)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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