The Irony of Shalom
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV
Or as the English Standard Version reads:
“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
To the Jewish people, the word shalom is a most vibrant word of rich heritage. When looking up the word in Strong’s Concordance (7965), we discover Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.
The word shalom, also carries in the Hebrew language a representation of having been paid in full, a settled debt or redemption price having been satisfied.
And yet, there is an irony to the very word, which most Jewish people are unaware and thereby creates for those of us in Christ Jesus, what I believe to be a wonderful opportunity to engage in conversation.
You see, it is impossible for any person to fully have peace, to have shalom, apart from Christ Jesus. Now don’t get me wrong here, of course there may be moments of one feeling satisfied in life. Having an overall sense of peace in that there immediate circumstances are perhaps void of challenging circumstances. They might well be experiencing a season of good health and financial prosperity. They may have a well-balanced work schedule including time for fellowship, family, friends, and rest. However, such peace is but often fleeting. For at the very instant any one of these criteria or combination thereof is met with tribulation, the entire foundation of peace for that individual becomes shaken and the aftershocks can take a most serious toll.
Jesus told His followers, that He leaves us His peace, not as the world gives peace. His peace is that of eternal security. It’s the realization that the number of our days on earth, are but a twinkling of the eye compared to all everlasting glory we’ll experience in heaven. For us to look to the true meaning of shalom, we must accept that true peace, comes from God as a result of our position in Christ Jesus. The peace that transcends all understanding is one based upon an unshakeable foundation of truth, knowing our adoption from God the Father is once for all eternally secure. That our future inheritance in the kingdom has been set aside and awaits our taking possession. That regardless of our circumstances in this present life, we can have and enjoy true peace…
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NIV
The question we can ask of those around us is this, “Are you truly experiencing shalom?”