Thursday, February 28, 2013

Things That Make For Peace

41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-44)
“Would that even you had known on this day the things that make for peace,” thus Jesus weeps over the city of Jerusalem. There is irony in this. Jerusalem literally means the city of peace. For generationsit had been the place where the faithful and the pious had come to find the peace that surpasses all understanding, thThe peace that only God could give, his shalom. As was pointed out, this shalom means both peace and freedom. God’s peace sets you free. But the city of shalom would not know the time of its visitation. It would miss the shalom that was coming because the people refused to have their minds on things above, but kept them on earthly things. They could only think of peace and freedom in terms of earthly peace and freedom that would not come.
God gives us a different peace and freedom, one that shatters all earthly chains, sets you free amidst earthly chains. Here is a freedom and a peace that can be had amidst the battle field. Here is a peace and freedom that a man can have even while having to follow orders in the military, listen to his employer. It was a freedom that slaves of the Roman Empire latched onto amidst their earthly bondage. It is a peace and freedom that comes with trust in God, the trust Joseph had as he listened to Potiphar, that gave him strength and resilience as he sat in prison. Oh it may not make everyone second in command over a huge and powerful kingdom, but nonetheless it empowers the individual and brings meaning to their life. We are at peace with God who has granted us freedom from our bondage to sin that we might walk in the newness of life with him just as he is risen from the dead. This is liberation that knows no bounds. This is subversive power that overturns tables, and brings joy amidst hardship. This was the peace for which the city of Jerusalem was named, because here God came to his people, was present to accept their sacrifices and eat with them. This was the meaning of the Passover, which conferred this peace and freedom with God, that sanctified God’s people, who celebrated this freedom and peace.
But this would no longer be the case, coming now is the time when we would neither worship in Jerusalem or on the hill tops of Samaria, but now we would worship God in Spirit and Truth, wherever the gifts of the final Passover sacrifice are distributed in his name conferring the forgiveness of sins on those who eat his body and drink his blood. The whole history of Jerusalem was marching towards this moment, the time of their visitation when Jesus would be made the final Passover sacrifice. It would culminate there, for these are the things that make for peace, here it is mercy given.

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