January 23, 2019

Shalom

By: Larry Shaffer

Shalom 

John 20 

So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ 

After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you.”  

Yesterday we covered the words Jesus spoke to Mary Magdalene. He spoke her name and her eyes were opened to see Him. We don’t believe in universal salvation; that everyone who is relatively good, universally goes to heaven. We believe that God’s saving grace, His special grace, His focused and personal grace, is directed toward individuals. In Mary’s case, she was seeking Jesus and Jesus called her name!!! 

I’ve heard testimonies of people who were minding their business, living in ignorance and not necessarily seeking Jesus, when Jesus seized their heart, called their name and opened their eyes. Additionally, there are multiple Bible passages that indicate that God is the initiator of an individual’s salvation.  

Do we seek Jesus first or does He seek us first?  

I’m an amateur Theologian so I do have a full system of beliefs on this subject. But I’m not going to bore you with it because, you know what, God has it all figured out and that’s what matters. Does He seek us or do we seek Him? Yes! It’s a beautiful and wonderful mystery that God has perfectly organized in His mind even if we don’t understand it fully. What matters is that we seek God with all of our heart and God promises to be there and respond with grace and love to those who seek Him. All that matters is that we urge others to seek Jesus and Jesus promises to welcome them in His love and grace. What a Savior! He is always there, seeking us and calling us to seek Him.  

Back to the story 

After Mary Magdalene saw and spoke to Jesus on the Easter Sunday morning, that evening, the disciples, doubting Mary’s account of her experience with Jesus, were locked in their own house. They were completely confused. Can you imagine their conversations, discussions and arguments?  

The body of Jesus was gone but the grave clothes were neatly lying in the tomb. Mary Magdalene, in all her weeping and emotion saw a vision of Jesus…or did she actually see Jesus??? What does it mean that Jesus is gone? He must have been taken by someone. But who and why? If someone took him, why would they neatly un-wrap the linens? They wouldn’t un-wrap a two-day old body and then carry it away? They would keep the body wrapped. 

Also, there were trained guards at the tomb to guard the body so the disciples wouldn’t take the body? Who would overpower them? Who has a motive to take the body??? Maybe Jesus was just in a coma and the cool air of the tomb revived Him? But the professional Roman executioners declared Him dead. They thrust a sword through His side and blood and water came out. This is a clear sign of death. How could He revive himself, take off His linens, lay them neatly in the tomb, move the stone and overpower the guards. That makes no sense.  

Where is His body!!! 

The doors were locked and shut, the discussion was heated and suddenly Jesus was in their midst. His resurrected and glorified body was not subject to the same physical laws of nature as before. He wasn’t a Spirit floating through the air. He had a body that the disciple will touch. Yet, He went through walls.   

He greets them with the phrase Peace be with you. Eight days later, when Jesus appears to them again, His first words were also, Peace be with you. 

Yes, Shalom is a typically Jewish greeting. But this has a fuller meaning than just a typical greeting. Earlier at the Lords last supper, as a forecast of what was to come. Jesus said, my peace I give to you. Now that the work of Christ on the cross was complete, Jesus emphasizes that peace is now with them. Jesus emphasized this amazing peace for his disciples, and later the apostles would write about it in their epistles. 

Romans 5:1-5, therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…. This peace is not a sense of serenity and calm (although it produces such) but an objective, external reality of our relationship, through Christ with God.  We were at war with God as sinners. We are now, in Jesus by faith, at peace with Him. Ephesians 2 says, But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace“   

The foundation for experiencing peace in our day-to-day lives in an experiential manner of calm is the following: a clear understanding of our positional standing with God. We are forgiven, we are loved and we are secure in His hands! We are at peace with Him. Therefore, the wrath meant for us was born by Jesus and the FULL blessings of being a child of God is now ours. The conscious realization of those facts can help us endure the most volatile of situations. Regardless of the size of the storm, Jesus is the captain of our ship. He is our peace. 

Jesus, thank you for your peace. May I live daily with the confidence that I am at peace with you my Father, through the sacrifice of Jesus. I praise you and thank you this morning! Amen!