(#24 of 25-2017)
Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
So what did he do to bring peace into various situations? What can we learn from his actions?
Jesus very first miracle was turning water into wine. He was at a wedding with his mother, where they ran out of wine, and Mary asked Jesus to do something about it. A wine shortage certainly wasn’t the biggest issue in the world at the time, but Jesus, in obedience to his mother chose to act. He turned the water brought to him into the finest wine of the wedding. I have never really spent much time studying this story before, because it seems so cut and dry. I approached it as if Jesus took care of a minor problem, and moved on with his life, and so should we.
Now that I am helping plan a wedding of my own, I realize just how much this moment must have meant to the happy couple. As we work on planning a special day for us, for our family, and for our friends, we are constantly focused on money and costs and amounts and wanting to be sure we have enough of everything for everyone. This couple had likely done the same thing, but somehow came up short. If I was the groom in that situation, I would have been pretty upset and I would be trying to scrounge up enough cash to buy another cask so my very thirsty friends could drink their fill. It would have been a huge distraction, and it might have even ruined my memories of the special day.
Jesus stepped into this lack, and supplied. He brought peace through provision.
We see another moment when Jesus is confronted by the religious rulers of his day, they have brought with them a woman caught in adultery, and they are demanding that he pass judgement on her. The Mosaic law requires that this woman be stoned to death. They have done everything they can to trap Jesus between a rock and a hard place, and it does seem to be an impossible situation. Jesus can deny the law of Moses (which come from God his Father) and let the woman live, or he can allow the woman to be killed for her sin.
Jesus seems speechless in this moment. He writes on the ground with his finger, but the scriptures do not tell us what he wrote. The religious sect around him continues to press him for an answer, feeling that their trap is working. Jesus finally responds to their questions. He tells them that the man with no sin can throw the first stone. In one masterful stroke, Jesus judges not only the woman, but each man who has brought her to him. The religious men are forced to accept that they too have sinned, and they leave the woman alone with Jesus. Jesus has saved this woman from this life threatening situation.
Jesus delayed judgement to give the woman (and each of the men as well) a chance to repent of their sin. Jesus brought peace through delay. We never meet that woman in the scriptures again, but my hope is that she found herself changed through her encounter with Jesus.
I have one more story for today.
Peter denied Jesus three times, even after swearing that he would never forsake Christ. After the crucifixion, we find Peter to be a broken man, ashamed of his failure, ashamed of his denials. Peter returns to his life as a fisherman, leaving behind everything his Rabbi taught him, certain that he had no place in the work Jesus wanted to do in the world. During a breakfast by the fire, Jesus restores Peter to himself, healing their relationship. He sets in front of Peter a tremendous task, one that will eventually take Peter’s life. He welcomes Peter back into the family as if no wrong had been done. Jesus brings peace through forgiveness.
Jesus truly is the Prince of Peace.