Summary: Temporal things will try and rob your peace but there is something deep and stabilizing about knowing Jesus as savior that can help you weather storms and serve as a deterrent to unrest and bewilderment.
JESUS THE BETTER WAY: JESUS ENSURES A BETTER PEACE
Big Idea: Temporal things will try and rob your peace but there is something deep and stabilizing about knowing Jesus that can help you with panic, unrest, and bewilderment.
• Reading from the Old Testament: Isaiah 43:1-7
• Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 23
• Reading from the Epistles: Ephesians 2:11-17
• Reading from the Gospels: John 14:25-27
Have you ever taken time to analyze the things that disturb your peace?
• What causes you to lose sleep at night?
• What makes you worry?
• What is that that causes your mind to race and keeps you preoccupied?
• What is it that removes the smile from your face and replaces it was a look of austerity?
When something is nagging at you it brings unrest. It can even subtly produce insecurity. The catalysts can be myriad and the triggers may be camouflaged but, in some way, there is always a "tell" when we are robbed of tranquility.
Let me ask it differently; Have you ever looked closely at the factors that indicate peace is present within you?
Sometimes the source of unrest is not something temporal (like money problems or health issues) but, rather, a deeper issue. The core issue is more weighty. The surface issues are superficial and merely mask the problem. In some cases the surface issue might even bring the deeper issue to light ... reveal or expose it, so to speak.
As I read chapters 9 and 10 I see some of this at play. There are some superficial issues mentioned at the end of the reading (10:32-34) that might appear to be the cause of unrest but those are easily addressed and navigated. The real cause of unrest and the real portal to peace and joy are deeper and given much more attention in 9:23-28.
HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD:
9:23 It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
9:24 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.
9:25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.
9:26 Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
9:27 Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
9:28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
SHALOM: PEACE WITH GOD IS THE FORE-RUNNER OF THE PEACE OF GOD.
This little church would have been very familiar with the term “shalom.” It is a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wellbeing, or completeness.
It is most certainly one of the most significant theological terms in scripture.
• It has personal and communal aspects. It is the idea of completeness, wholeness, and peace.
• It starts from within a person (or community) and its impact is understood to spread from that starting point outward.
• It is, in fact, one word that can describe God’s objective for Christ’s salvation.
• It is also a common greeting and departure.
I invite you to turn to the people around you and say “peace be with you?”
When the soul is not a rest with God (shalom), peace is unattainable. When there is distance between us and God it is because sin has not been addressed and where sin abides peace cannot. The solution is … forgiveness. Until we seek forgiveness, any attempt to find real peace will be a Band-Aid at best and an illusion at worst.
Family therapists have a little saying; "hurt people hurt people." The point of the saying is that that which resides inside shows itself in how we live and interact. The pain always finds a means of destructive expression. Whatever resides within the human heart will reveal itself in one’s life. In Hebrews, the writer is going to the core of the problem ... we have no confidence in our relationship with God because sin has never been pardoned. When that major relationship finds solution, wellbeing follows and then peace within and peace with others follow suit. The scriptures illustrate this throughout its pages. When sin is present hostility, violence, discord, and unrest reign at every level of human interaction.