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DEVOTIONAL
A peace no longer beyond understanding
Richard Wasserfall
07-Feb-2005
“He came and preached peace to you who were far away and to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”Ephesians 2:17-18
What does it mean to say Jesus came and preached peace? What peace? “Peace, peace, to those who are far and near, says the Lord,” through the prophet Isaiah, “And I will heal them,” (Isa 57:19). Surely then we are talking about peace that comes from healing. But healing from what wound? The wound that sin caused; that set man upon his wilful ways, enraging God against him, and causing God to hide his face from man (Isa 57:17). But also a wound that caused the spirit of man to rage restlessly like a tossing sea, unable to find rest or comfort in his spirit. As Isaiah so succinctly summed up, “‘There is no rest,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’”

But because Christ created one new man through His sacrifice on the cross, abolishing forever the need for the Law by being the perfect sacrifice for sin that made men wicked, Jesus opened the door to God to look again upon man, so as to bring the healing comfort and rest to all who are contrite in spirit. For God says, “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,’ (Isa 57:15).

This then is the peace that Christ came to restore: the knowledge that our spirits are at rest in God, forgiven by God for our sin, and are now eternally in God’s presence at Christ’s right hand side, like the twenty four elders of John’s vision (Rev 4)—twelve for those who were near, the tribes of Israel, and twelve who went out to those who were far, us Gentiles.

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus said during his ministry of peace, “for they will be called the sons of God” (Mt 5:9). Christ is our peacemaker. He is also the Son of God. What did He preach? He preached eternal life by believing in Christ Jesus as the son of God, and he preached the repentance of our sins before God. This then, is the message of peace, for this is the message that Christ preached. And we know that adhering to this message alone will cause the eyes of God to look upon us with His merciful grace, causing the comfort of his healing to come upon us.

To be a true peacemaker then, that is, to be a true child of God—one who reconciles peoples of all tribes and nations through Christ, is to preach God’s forgiveness of sins through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ. And we can do this because we have been baptised by Christ’s Spirit into his one new man, whether we be Gentile or Jew. Let us then fit our feet with the shoes of readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, so that we might go out and spread the Word.
Dear Lord, peace is a much abused word in our world. Open our eyes to Your gospel of peace, so that in our hearts we might begin to live with a true understanding of Your peace and how we spread it. Amen.