1160 West Georgia Street Vancouver, BC, V6E 3H7
Jesus, King of Peace
On Palm Sunday, one week before Easter, we remember and celebrate Jesus as king. Pastor Dave gave a great sermon on this topic this past weekend! (Click here to watch) Rulers today may demonstrate their power through a show of strength, wealth, or control, but King Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a lowly donkey. The Bible recounts to us how there was a large crowd of visitors in town for the Feast of Passover to remember how the angel of death passed over God’s people in Egypt, as they were protected by the blood of an innocent lamb. The people of Israel would have recalled the prophetic words of Zechariah, who foretold about a king, who would come to God’s people. Zechariah wrote, “He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey – riding on a donkey’s colt” (Zechariah 9:9 NLT). This gave great hope to the Israelites who were experiencing oppression from their Roman rulers. They had seen and heard of the miraculous signs that Jesus had done and they were ready to call him king and have him conquer their oppressors.
As Jesus got closer to Jerusalem, he wept over the city and said, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42 NKJV). Why did Jesus say this? He knew what the Israelites wanted, but He also knew what they needed. You see, Jesus didn’t come to bring war or a physical kingdom that would only last for a portion of a lifetime. Instead, the kind of kingdom Jesus came to bring, was the kind His Heavenly Father would have wanted, a kingdom of peace. Jesus would say in John 14:27, “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” (NKJV). This word peace, is used 92 times in the Bible, and is the Greek word “eirēnē”, which not only means the absence of war, but a quietness and rest for our mind, body, and spirit, as well as harmony in our relationships.1
Today, there can be so many things that weigh on our mind … “how am I going to make the next bill payment?”, “which school should my child go to?”, “when will news of war end?”, “what if I get Covid?”, “I need to do well on my next exam”, “how do I care for my aging parents?”, “what if I don’t measure up to my employer’s expectations?”, “I hope I do well in my job interview tomorrow”, “I need to close the deal with that client”, “I really miss traveling” … the list goes on. The Apostle Paul wrote about those who belong to Christ, that is, those who have believed and received Jesus in their lives, “they are no longer under God’s judgment. Because of what Christ Jesus has done, you are free. You are now controlled by the law of the Holy Sprit who gives you life. The law of the Spirit frees you from the law of sin that brings death … The thoughts of a person ruled by sin brings death. But the mind ruled by the Spirit brings life and peace” (Romans 8:1-2, 6 NIRV). One of the wonderful gifts that Jesus came to bring as part of the Kingdom of God through His death and resurrection, was the gift of a peaceful mind through the Holy Spirit. No longer do we have to be ruled by our worries, fears, lusts, or cravings. Rather, the Spirit of God can bring a quietness and calm to our mind when we surrender our lives to Him daily. What a feeling of freedom to know that while we do our best in everything we put our hand to or in any situation we put effort into, we can bring to the Lord our concerns and receive His rest for our minds.
Jesus came to bring peace for our bodies. According to The Lancet medical journal in 2015, over 95% of the world’s population has health problems, with over a third having more than 5 ailments.2 Sickness and disease is so prevalent today, just as it was prevalent in Jesus’ day. When the multitudes came to Jesus in Bethsaida, “He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing” (Luke 9:11 NKJV). Jesus would often do this: speak about the kingdom of God and then heal people, the two were often closely related. Jesus would go on to make it clear to His followers, that healing was not only something they would see while He was with them on earth, but that they would see healing even after He would ascend to Heaven. Right after giving the great commission, Jesus said, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18 NKJV). Wow, these are really clear words from our Lord Jesus. While we may not always understand how, why or when God’s healing takes place, we know that it’s possible, that it glorifies Jesus, that He uses the Christian believer as a vessel for His healing, and that healing on earth is a foretaste of greater things to come in Heaven.
Jesus came to bring peace to our spirit. From creation we see that humanity was made to be close to God. When sin came through the disobedience of God’s commands, it separated us from God, and the consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus came to pay the price of death for our sin. He came to be the bridge between us and God through His death and resurrection. His blood, the substitute for a perfect spotless lamb, covers God’s people so that death passes over them just as death passed over God’s people in Egypt during the time of Passover. This is incredible news because the Bible tells us that God has “planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God] – yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 AMP). In other words, our spirit is not at rest until we have been reunited with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Only then, can we walk in the divine purpose that we long for and have peace in our spirit.
Jesus came to bring peace for our relationships with others. There is a wise saying from King Solomon in the book of Proverbs, “without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest” (14:4 NLT). This verse could relate to how it’s easy to live with just ourselves to consider, but having to consider others around us can result in some challenges. The truth is, relationships of all types can be tough, whether in marriage, friendship, business, work, school or community. The pain of experiencing dishonesty, deception, hurt, betrayal, selfishness, greed, abandonment, hatred, unforgiveness, and bitterness can be overwhelming and life-altering. Reconciliation and restoration can feel impossible. But the Apostle Paul reminds us in the book of Ephesians what Christ was able to do between 2 people groups that hated each other, that is the Jews and Gentiles:
14 Christ himself is our peace. He has made Jews and Gentiles into one group of people. He has destroyed the hatred that was like a wall between us. 15 Through his body on the cross, Christ set aside the law with all its commands and rules. He planned to create one new people out of Jews and Gentiles. He wanted to make peace between them. 16 He planned to bring both Jews and Gentiles back to God as one body. He planned to do this through the cross. On that cross, Christ put to death their hatred toward one another. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away. He also preached peace to those who were near. 18 Through Christ we both come to the Father by the power of one Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 2:14-18 NIRV)
If Jesus can bring peace to long-standing hatred between Jews and Gentiles, He can bring peace to our relationships as well. The key though is the power of the Holy Spirit at work in each person, as only He is able to help us walk in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
Jesus is our King, who came to bring peace for our mind, our body, our spirit and our relationships. He would do this by giving up His life for us through His death on the cross, forever dealing with the sin in our lives that brings all types of discord. Jesus would bring us peace by coming back to life for us, defeating the power of sin and making a way for us to experience new life by the power of the Holy Spirit. Why would Jesus do all this? Because of His love for us, God’s beloved creation (John 3:16). Let us respond to that love every day by renewing our commitment to receiving, knowing and pursuing the peace He came to bring us.
1 Strong’s Definition: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1515/kjv/tr/0-1/
2 The Lancet. “Over 95% of the world’s population has health problems, with over a third having more than five ailments.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/06/150608081753.htm>.