Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Jesus - the Prince of peace?

Met someone who spoke, perhaps a little glibly, of Jesus as the Prince of peace? as they did, behind them was a wall of newspapers with headlines proclaiming the news, those things of  importance that sell newspapers.

Palestinian death toll rises (now 500+)

Flight MH 17 crashes in Ukraine (305 lives lost)

van Gaal heralds new United era (there's always one paper that misses the point isn't there?)

Christians flee Mosul as they are order to pay to live there or 'face the sword'

Christians often speak of Jesus as the 'Prince of peace' and yet, some 2000 years since He was born round the back of a pub in Bethlehem , there doesn't seem to much of the stuff flying around does there? All that 'peace of earth - goodwill to all men' is most definitely lacking when Israeli tanks can purposely target a hospital - something which according to the Law of Armed Conflict and the Geneva (and other) conventions confers the title of 'war crime' upon them. It surely isn't seen when the militants of ISIS are sweeping across Iraq and engaging in ethnic cleansing of the Christians. It's nowhere to be found when some wicked geezers with a piece of hardware apparently take out a civilian airliner (with the tacit approval of a nation whose record on integrity was pretty much zero before this all began and is now in the negative numbers).

So how do we, as Christians, give an answer for the lack of that peace (shalom) that Jesus is supposed to have brought? Have stocks run low and so supply is limited perhaps? It could be, as one foolish person said, 'That the shalom Jesus brings is only for those who are His!' An explanation that denies the words of John 3.16 where we are led to believe that God loved ALL the world so much that He sent His Son Jesus, the Christ, to come to save and bless ALL within it.

Now I happen to think I might have an explanation. Of course it could be a comfortable and convenient way of making me feel good about all the stuff that's going on in the world around me, but I don't think so (because I'd hate that). It goes like this:

Jesus came into this world to reconcile the people on it with the God what made it (because the wrong stuff had caused a divorce between Him and us).

Jesus, realising that 'without the shedding of blood there could be no forgiveness' - Heb 9.22 - takes our place on the cross - his blood paying the debt that the wrong stuff has brought into being and restoring the relationship with God and man.

Jesus, job done, goes back to be with God (the father) and in His place we have the third member of the Trinity (Father, Son and) the Holy Spirit, who guides, comforts and counsels us in the things and thoughts we should have.

Now the shelves are stacked high with Shalom and yet there is a distinct lack of Shalominess to be found because although all that is required is for each of us to take this peace from the shelves for ourselves (and those around us) - and for us to become a source of that Shalom; the reality is that we'd rather do it in our own strength and intelligence.

Now wonder the world is pants then is it?

All we need to do to accept the gift of live Jesus has won for us by His death on the cross is to take it from His hands (a 'Thank You' would be nice) and live within the reality of that act.

The same is true of His Shalom - we need merely to take  it upon ourselves and, beacon like, shine it into every corner of our world and if we were only to do this then I believe we'd be in a very different place because truly the darkness cannot overcome the light (John 1).

So today whilst the wicked do their works of darkness - why not choose life in Jesus and taking His light and Shalom upon you oppose their deeds and step by step change the world where you are and, as others join the effort, across the world.

Not proselytising but setting free.

Not opposing those who choose not to follow Jesus, the Messiah, but blessing them because that's what being Christian should be about.

Not ignoring the written word because all we need is love but keeping it because loves is what it's all about.

All you need to realise is that God's peace is limitless!

He's the supplier and looks to us to be the distributors and find more who are willing to act as agents for the product!


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