“But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that
brought us peace, and
with his wounds we are healed.”
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, there are numerous references to peace. While there are various words in the original languages of the Bible that refer to peace, the deepest roots stem back to a consequential word known as shalom. Shalom, at its core, means “to be whole” or “complete.” While shalom is a common greeting among Jews around the world, the full meaning of that word goes well beyond a mere feeling of calmness.
Shalom literally means:
“God’s highest and most complete good be upon you and all associated with you.”
Thus, the peace of God goes well beyond merely a cozy feeling or even the absence of war; it includes a relational harmony that seeks a deep commitment to the work of justice in truth and righteousness. The peace of God is a full, satisfying, rich, and juicy fruit of His Spirit to His people and creation. The shalom of God is intended for relational goodness and harmony through and through. Peace is the original order of creation and remains in the heart of God for all His creation.
The reason a Saviour was born on that day in the City of David was that something or someone needed saving. The earth and humanity were the ones who needed saving and deliverance due to shalom being in disarray from sin and Satan’s schemes. What happened in Bethlehem in the stable was a strategic initiative that was well within the scope and sequence of God’s plans, which would lead back to peace…shalom: God’s highest and most complete good that was intended for all people and those with whom they associated.
The cross is where our Saviour made way for peace to be experienced in the most complete and whole sense of the word. The Prince of Shalom is closely associated with the meaning of the word for Saviour, who was born in Bethlehem that first Christmas. Saviour is the word “soter” in the original language. This word can be translated “deliverer” or “preserver.” These words are descriptors of what Jesus the Saviour came to do on His invasion at the incarnation. He came to deliver people from the works of the devil and preserve the peace of God to the people of God so that the Kingdom of God might be experienced on earth as it is in heaven.
The Prince of Peace came to show and walk the path to peace.
If we are not experiencing peace in our lives, it may be related to the path we find ourselves on today. The path some people wander onto may be a subtle work of the devil that has led them down a way they never really intended to walk in the first place. Jesus came to destroy those subtle works of the devil just as much as the more overt works that are more easily recognizable in our world.
What Jesus did on the cross was to fulfill the purpose of why He was born in the first place. He came to restore peace and make a path to peace for us to walk down as we follow Him. In fact, Jesus said the people who bring peace to all areas of life on earth are blessed in God’s eyes. When Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” (Matthew 5:9) He had in mind people who were pursuing right relationships with the people around them in ways that led to justice, truth and righteousness for all. Peacemaking goes way beyond just calling a truce in the middle of a fight.
Peacemaking pursues the help of God in making something that has gone wrong along the way into a place where it is healed and made right.
This is that concept of wholeness that stems back to shalom once again. May you find shalom this Christmas season.