“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” —2 Thessalonians 3:16
Our world is desperate for peace. We go can into the self-help section of any bookstore and find volumes of books dedicated to the pursuit of peace. But peace seems so elusive; as we look around our world, we can experience moments of peace and moments of tranquillity, but it is momentary. Worldly peace is temporary, fragile under pressure, breaks easily and can change with the winds of culture.
Oftentimes, the Christmas season is the height of pursuing peace. We go through the mall looking for the perfect gift and are excited when we purchase it for a loved one. When we give it to them on Christmas Day, they are so full of joy, excitement and peace. But after the season goes by, that joy wears off and that tranquillity floats away because things of this world cannot give us the peace that we are so desperately longing for.
In Jesus’s final moments with His disciples, they were concerned, worried and distraught because of what Jesus disclosed to them would happen to Him. He said, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life! (Matthew 20:18-19).
To comfort His disciples, Jesus reassured them of this truth, “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). The Greek word that Jesus uses for “peace” is eirēnē, which means “peace, harmony, tranquillity.” This word is used more than 300 times in the New Testament often emphasizing peace or tranquillity, or harmony in our relationship with others, but most importantly, in our relationship with God.
When Jesus spoke of peace, there are three observations that we make from the verse. Firstly, peace is something that only He can give to others. Secondly, peace is something that He Himself shares in—“My peace I give you.” Thirdly, Jesus adds some distinctions about His peace and how it differs from what this world has to offer—“I do not give as the world gives.” Hence, at Christmas, when we read Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace [eirēnē] to those on whom His favour rests”, the peace spoken of here is the same peace that Jesus gave to His disciples, and to us.
Dear God, thank You for Your peace. In You alone do I find true peace that is not elusive, temporary or fragile.