Wednesday, April 14, 2021

On a hillside 16) B7 group peace on the inside

When Jesus speaks a second time: Peace be with you we realize that it's not just a greeting to shaken disciples.  Something significant has happened and it's to do with PEACE!  For what Jesus has done on the cross is profound. His act of sacrifice has won peace for the world. 'But now in Christ Jesus, you who were once far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace ( Eph.: 2:13,14). Jesus died, once for all, to bring everything together in God. Everything - all the conflicts, separation of people from God, all the despair in people, between people, between nations, between all created things.  Jesus is the Peacemaker winning a new cosmic reality of deep harmony and togetherness.  It is God's win-win. Isaiah foresaw the possibility: One day the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat (Isa 11:6). Woody Allen commented:'I don't imagine the sheep gets much sleep'!  What the cross has accomplished - the sheer scale of at-one-ment, reconciliation, forgiveness - changes everything.

And it seems so appropriate that the seventh beatitude belongs in this room: Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.  This beatitude has a wide reach.  It calls us to pray on the largest scale for peacemakers in places of conflict across our world.  But this locked room also helps us drill down into some very personal implications.  For here peace has two aspects - working INSIDE the group of disciples as well as OUTSIDE . 

INSIDE PEACE - the binding together of disciples by the peace of Jesus is startling. Before Jesus comes they are individuals coping with sadness in fear in their own ways. Very different personalities with complicated relationships (like jealousy and jostling for position).  Yet now, with Jesus alive they are confronted by a whole new focus for living together.  Jesus is the highest common denominator.  He has vindicated everything he promised them. They can share faith, hope, courage in a togetherness that was never possible before. He had told them 'My peace I give to you, not as the world gives to you' (John 14:27) but how could they ever understand this kind of peace until Jesus the peacemaker stands before them.  The risen Jesus brings them together as never before. Them and every group of Christ-followers ever since.

But is this peace-making togetherness easy?   Never......

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