But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace … He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (verses 13-14, 17-18)
The Hebrew conception is broad and rich. Encompassed in the word “shalom,” it doesn’t focus narrowly on a cessation of hostilities and absence of war, though these are included. Rather, it involves a sense of well-being in every aspect of life. Shalom means completeness, soundness, and wholeness, implying prosperity and health and contentedness. It’s a wonderfully rich concept – fullness and goodness and richness and blessing in the whole of life. When Jesus promised he had come “that they may have life, and have it to the full”(John 10:10), he was tapping into this broad, expansive word.
Applied to our relationship with God, peace implies reconciliation. It’s an absolutely necessary precursor, because on our own we were at enmity with God, estranged from him, “without hope and without God in the world” (verse 12). For peace to reign we must be brought back into right relationship with our Creator – the Lord of all.
It’s through Jesus. We were far away (oh, so far), but now we have been brought near (right home) through the blood of Christ. His sacrificial death on the cross was for us. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Gal 3:13). “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). Shalom.
At this point, of course, peace is much more than simply an abstract concept. It becomes very personal, deeply relational. In fact, the concept itself is fully embodied in the person of Jesus. “He himself is our peace.” It’s in relationship with him that we have relationship with the Father, brought home like the prodigal in Jesus’ parable, and wrapped in the Father’s loving embrace.
Indeed, “home” is located right in the heart of intimate relationship with the Triune God. Through Jesus, we have access to the Father, by the Spirit. We find ourselves drawn into the centre of their own relationship. Or, to put it the other way round, in Jesus’ own words, the Triune God comes to dwell with us. Speaking of those who have entered this relationship, he says, “My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them”(John 14:23) and, regarding the Spirit, he adds, “He lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:17).
This is peace indeed. We were far away, but now brought home. Reconciled. Embraced. Jesus himself is our peace. Praise his name.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you that from all eternity you were committed to reconciling me to God, bearing the full cost yourself. Thank you that I am now at home with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Thank you that Father, Son and Spirit now dwell with me. Such peace. Such wholeness. Thank you.
Reflect: At what points in your own life do you need to step more deeply into the peace Jesus has won for you? Does anything stand in the way? Put it in Jesus’ hands. Come fully home. Receive all he has for you.
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash