I’ve had a particular anxiety that has been plaguing me primarily on Saturdays for a few months. As I was tossing and turning last Friday night, the thought popped into my mind, “Shabbat shalom!” Not being Jewish, that’s not a thought that often comes to my mind. It is a traditional Jewish greeting meaning “Sabbath peace.” It did not escape my notice that the Sabbath begins at sundown Friday and continues through Saturday. It reminded me that the peace of God comes from the God who is Himself peace. As the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6-9 (ESV):
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus… Practice these things and the God of peace will be with you.”
This Friday as the Jewish Passover begins, Christians will be observing Good Friday and remembering the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. The disciples, who had run from the garden of Gethsemane, likely did not think of this as a day of Sabbath peace. They were probably filled with both sorrow and anxiety as they mourned their Rabbi and wondered what the future held. Little did they know that the God of peace was doing a new thing.
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14).
“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him” (Colossians 1:21-22).
Through the horrendous death of Jesus, whom we recognize as the true Messiah, shalom was made possible for all who will believe in Him. Biblical shalom doesn’t mean just a peaceful state of mind or a lack of conflict, but of wholeness and well-being. Only by being reconciled with God are we made both whole and holy. Our deepest need is fulfilled in Christ alone.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it” (1 Thess. 5:23-24).
As we move through this Easter week, may we find shalom from the God of peace, whose love surpasses understanding.
“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
© 2019 Dawn Rutan. Image copyright free from pixabay.com. The opinions stated do not necessarily reflect the views of my church or employer.