“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you” (Luke 10:5–6).
Peace is a peculiar thing. When we think of peace, many things might come to mind. Some picture a gentle flowing river or a babbling brook. Others think of those moments staring from shore out onto the glassy surface of a lake. When we think of peace or being “at peace,” we think of tranquility, serenity, those moments when all conflict in the world seems to melt away and give way to contented bliss. For me, the picture of being “at peace” is one that comes at the end of the day. If the opportunity presents itself, I can make myself a warm drink, recline on the couch with my feet up, and dig into a good book. If I’m lucky, my dog Tucker will curl up on the floor beside me and doze off, reminding me just how peaceful the moment is.
The only problem is that this picture is not a common occurrence; it’s occasional, seldom even. And I imagine the same is true for many of you. Peace is peculiar because, although we desire it, we often have trouble finding or achieving it. In fact, from the world’s perspective, as violence, conflict, and strife grows greater and greater, peace is a punchline, a pipe dream that many believe they will never find save for a few chance moments on earth.
So, what changed? Because if you read your Bible, peace isn’t treated this way. In fact, peace seems much more common. When Jesus sends out the 72 apostles, He instructs them to say, “Peace be to this house,” and He goes on to say if a “son of peace” is there then the peace will rest on him. In other words, peace was something they already possessed, and they possessed it in such great quantities that they could offer it as a gift to as many households as they entered! That’s hard to believe, especially since we know the apostles didn’t have much if any opportunity to kick back and relax. So how could they have peace in such abundance?
Jesus teaches that peace comes through faith in Him. He tells a sinful woman in Luke 7, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (7:50). We can also read in Romans from the apostle Paul, “Therefore since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God” (5:1). Peace comes through faith in Christ. This is how the apostles possessed it in such abundance. They had faith in Christ, their Lord. And in this faith they were sent out and were able to share this peace with others.
The same is true for us and all followers of Christ. Peace comes through faith. But what does this mean? Does it mean that we will have abundant moments of blissful relaxation? Does it mean we will experience more tranquility or less conflict? Certainly not. Quite the opposite, in fact. Jesus tells the apostles, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” (Luke 12:51). The peace that comes through Him is not peace as we think of it; it’s far greater because it comes at all times, both the tranquil and the turbulent.
While we conceive peace as a lack of conflict, Christ gives us peace in the midst of conflict. And this is good news. Although we would prefer that conflict go away, we know it won’t. We live in a fallen and sinful world. We see sin at work in our own lives. We see sin at work in the lives of our friends, our communities, and our leaders. Sin and its burdens are a constant while we are here on earth. But God knows this. That is why He gives us His special gift of peace. It’s a peace that doesn’t require a tranquil moment or a lack of conflict; it’s a peace that comes in the midst of these things, one that comforts in spite of these troubles. With this peace, we can witness the greatest burdens sin has to bring, even death itself, and still rejoice and say, “Praise and thanks be to God.” Because God’s peace is the promise of the forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and salvation—all of which sin cannot destroy for those who have faith.
We all have our picture of peace that seems to elude us. But God reminds us that He offers an even greater peace. It won’t make your life easier; it won’t remove all conflict from your life. But it will grant you a tranquil and joyful conscience before God at all times, even in times of hardship. It’s a peace that passes all earthly understanding, but it is one that brings us joy at all times. So praise be to God, and peace be with you.
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