"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27
Don’t you love those moments when everything seems right with the world? Maybe it’s when your baby is sleeping in your arms. Maybe it’s holding your spouse close after a long absence. Maybe it’s when your children are home from college, together again. Maybe it’s the whole family laughing together at Christmas. Or maybe it’s after all the in-laws go home again.
In the Jewish culture, peace is much more than the absence of conflict. It’s more like those brief moments of everything being right in your world. The Old Testament word is shalom, used still today as a greeting and a blessing. The concept of shalom is a concept of wholeness. It is an understanding that life is complex with many moving pieces, responsibilities, relationships, and more, but in shalom there is completeness, unity, safety—peace. Through the giving of the Law to Moses and God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants, there was God’s shalom, restoration, relationship, and spiritual wholeness. And in the coming of the Messiah, the Prince of Shalom would realize this sense of ultimate peace.
So you can be sure the disciples remembered and clung to Jesus’s words in the days after His death and resurrection. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.” This was His shalom that would calm their hearts and overcome their fears, even when the world reeled around them. Jesus knew the hard times and even horrific days that lay ahead for His disciples, but He wanted them to know His Spirit would sustain them with peace. He knew the work of complete restoration He was accomplishing. It’s the same work He is working in us. Jesus is making us whole. His peace can calm our hearts and overcome our fears.
What is making you afraid? How can you speak words of peace, shalom, today?