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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - Peace That's More Than Peace

James Meehan - Peace That's More Than Peace

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    James Meehan - Peace That's More Than Peace
TOPICS: Bible Nerds, Peace

Well, hello, and welcome to Bible Nerds. My name is James Meehan, and today we're talking about shalom. It's a Hebrew word that means peace, but it means so much more than just peace. For most of us, peace is what we call it when there's not any significant conflict or trouble in our lives, right? Like as long as people aren't fighting and something isn't burning, then there's peace, which to be clear is not a bad thing. Like if I could go back in time and relive my middle school years and remove all of the drama from my dating relationships, the fighting in my family, and the weirdness that comes from puberty, then middle school would have been way less awful. Because a life without conflict or glaring problems sounds a lot better than what most of us go through, but it's still so much less than what Jesus wants for us and for the world. Jesus wants us to experience shalom.

I really like what author Cornelius Plantinga says about shalom. "Shalom is the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight. This is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace, but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a ceasefire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight. It is a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts are fruitfully employed. It's a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its creator and savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be".

What is shalom? It is the joining together of God, humanity, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and goodness. It's not just when bad things aren't happening. It's what we call it when God's way of doing things, the right way of doing things, is happening here on Earth just like it is in heaven. Shalom is the way things ought to be. It's the way we all, whether we realize it or not, long for things to be, and it's what Jesus came to bring. Here's what John tells us in John 20:18-21. He says that, "On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and He said, 'Peace, shalom, be with you.'"

You see, after being murdered on a Roman cross, which was basically the worst thing that could have happened to Him, Jesus appears to His disciples, who at this point are huddled away in a locked room afraid that they're gonna be taken out next, and Jesus says, "Shalom, be with you. Peace and so much more". Because they probably couldn't believe their own eyes and ears, Jesus shows them His nail-scarred hands. Continuing on, John tells us that, "After He said this, Jesus showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. And again, Jesus says, 'Peace, shalom be with you. As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.'"

Jesus came to bring shalom. Goodness, justice, fulfillment, peace with God, others, and ourselves. It was through our sin that shalom was ravaged, and it was through His sacrifice that shalom is being restored. Our world is broken, but Jesus came to put it back together starting with us. The Apostle Paul in Romans 5 tells us this, "Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory".

Because of Jesus, peace is possible. Shalom is available. So if you are someone who feels like your whole world is in chaos, start by finding peace in Jesus. Maybe because of a parent's divorce, a friend who's going through a hard time, or even some mental health challenges of your own, we want to encourage you to go to Jesus because he wants to bring you peace. Now, that doesn't mean every problem is going to go away overnight or you'll never go through hard things again. It does mean that you won't have to go through it alone because He will be with you. And sometimes that makes all the difference.

Now, for some of you, though, you're gonna go the extra step where you're gonna talk to a parent or a guardian about finding a good Christian counselor to help you develop the skills and the mindsets you need to respond when anxiety and depression rear their ugly heads. For others of you, you have peace in your own life. So what you're gonna do is take the step to join in on what God is doing by looking for ways to bring peace to others. Maybe by comforting someone who's struggling. Maybe it's by identifying an injustice in your community and doing something about it. Maybe you're gonna start praying for the people you go to school with by name and you're gonna ask God to bless them. Whatever it is, you have a part to play in what God wants to do in the world.

Now, to close out our time today, I wanna read these words from Paul's letter to the Romans again, but I'm gonna keep reading all the way through verse five because I think there's some really beautiful truths that apply to all of our lives.

Romans 5:1-5, Paul tells us, "Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. We can rejoice too when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love".

That's what God wants for you. For you to receive the peace that He offers and for you to become the kind of person that brings that peace to others. That's what shalom is all about. Take care and stay nerdy.
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