By Randy Ballinger
It was anything but peaceful when peace came to this world. It started peacefully enough—a meal shared by 13 close friends who had spent three years together. But this was to be the last supper all 13 of these men shared. After supper, as the group was walking to their usual meeting place in a garden, the group’s leader told his friends he would be leaving them. But he encouraged them by saying he was going to give them peace.
That is when a peaceful evening turned into chaos. The garden retreat turned into a place of betrayal and abandonment. In quick succession there occurred an arrest, false accusations, a mob shouting for blood, a sham trial, a pragmatic deference by the governor, a merciless scourging, and then the crucifixion of the innocent leader. Oh yes, there also was an earthquake and three hours of midday darkness.
With the apostles largely absent, enraged rulers, sadistic soldiers, and a contentious crowd played key roles on that day peace came to this planet.
It wasn’t the day the Prince of Peace was born, but the day he died:
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him (Isaiah 53:5).
Jesus’ death completed the work of redemption—the buying back of our souls from eternal turmoil and hopelessness in exchange for eternal peace with our Creator God.
Jesus promised his apostles he would give them peace, but with a distinction. He said,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
And also, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
So, what kind of peace does Jesus provide? The apostle Paul said of Jesus Christ, “For he himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).
Jesus provides himself as our peace.
Specifically, the peace Jesus provides is accomplished by his crucifixion and affirmed by his resurrection.
“And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom” (Mark 15:37-38, English Standard Version). With Jesus’ last breath, he provided the sacrifice for sins that enabled God to destroy the barriers between himself and all people everywhere . . . and bring true peace.
As we gather around his table, let us remember that Jesus himself is our peace.
Randy Ballinger lives with his wife, Gina Ann, near New Paris, Ohio. He is an elder with the Centerville (Indiana) Christian Church.