By Tammy Kennington, Crosswalk.com
On September 2, 31 B.C., Octavian ushered in a time known as Pax Romana – “the peace of Rome” – when he defeated Antony and Cleopatra off the coast of Greece. In celebration of Octavian’s continued prowess, the Roman senate commissioned the building of an altar to the goddess, Pax. The Latin definition of pax is “civil order,” which the Romans experienced for 200 years. But altars to false gods and the trappings of the world will never rescue us or provide the long-term peace for which we yearn. According to the Bible, peace is only found in the person of Jesus Christ.
What Is Peace According to the Bible?
The Old and New Testaments use two different words for peace. The first is the Hebrew word, shalom, referenced In Judges 6:24 when Gideon proclaims, “The Lord Is Peace.” According to Biblehub.com, this peace indicates “completeness, soundness, and welfare.”
Shalom is a nearly comprehensive sort of peace that involves well-being (Psalm 122:7), contentment (Psalm 37:37), relationships with others (Proverbs 12:20), relationships between countries (Leviticus 26:6), and personal interactions with God (Psalm 119:165).
While Gideon used the word peace as a title for God, the prophet Isaiah also wrote about Christ, “For unto us a child is born… And his name shall be called . . . Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6 KJB) The word shalom also refers to Jesus in this verse. While the twenty-first-century reader might skim over the words with limited understanding, the Jewish scholar or religious student living when Isaiah recorded these words would have recognized the link between God and the pre-born Messiah. This claim was earth-shattering.
Hundreds of years before His coming, Christ proclaimed true Peace, or shalom – the complete answer to man’s problem. But, shalom does not provide a complete picture of Biblical peace. According to the Bible, we can only understand peace through a relationship with Jesus.
Let’s consider the words Jesus spoke to His disciples before His death on the cross. Rather than asking for comfort, Christ offered these words of hope, “In Me, you may have peace.” (John 16:33 NKJ) The word for peace in this verse, eirene, is derived from the verb eiro, which means “to bind together what has been separated.”
This word, peace, was prophesied by Zechariah regarding the way of salvation (Luke 1:79), shouted from the skies upon Christ’s birth by the heavenly host (Luke 2:14), and applied to Jesus by the apostle Paul (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
Eirene, then, is a peace that goes beyond “completeness” by extending reconciliation to sinners. Through Christ, people have an opportunity to experience authentic, lasting peace with God. While many recognize Christ was born, lived, and died, only those who know Jesus as Savior can embrace the eirene He offers. If you do not already have this personal peace, it is available to you.
Why We Need Peace in Our Lives
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command in the garden, they destroyed the peace they had known with Him. Their marriage relationship suffered, fear and death propagated in their family. Seeds of sin were sown into the hearts of humans. Since then, people have struggled with the consequences of the fall.
We are no longer people at peace with the Father, one another, or even within ourselves. For example, more than half of marriages in the United States end in divorce. One out of four families experience domestic violence, close to 20 percent of adults struggle with an anxiety disorder, and wars rage worldwide. With such daunting social issues, few deny we need peace in our lives. But we will not discover peace in a political figure, government system, wealth accumulation, fame, or sexual exploration. We won’t even find it through self-affirmation, actualization, or religion. Jesus only is the giver of peace.
When we are reconciled to Him, our “binding peace,” Christ provides forgiveness of sins and nullifies the gap between God and humanity. Our relationship with God is re-established, and He begins to transform us into the likeness of His Son.
While we will sometimes struggle to keep our spiritual eyes on Jesus, spending time reading the Bible, memorizing and meditating on scripture, and worshiping through prayer will help us to continue to live in the peace of Christ. The Prince of Peace is faithful to His promises. Whether we are struggling with a lack of day-to-day peace because of worry, our mental health, or a challenging relationship, in Jesus, we can have peace – shalom and eirene.
Peace in and through Jesus Christ is possible. One day soon, the Prince of Peace will return to bring governmental rule that surpasses Pax Romana and embodies the fullness of the words shalom, and eirene. Until then, may you have peace through knowing Him.
A Prayer for Peace with Christ
How I long for peace in my life – for completeness, well-being, and contentment. Despite my best efforts, nothing satisfies the longing of my heart. In my search for wholeness, I have rebelled against you.
Father, forgive me. Forgive me for believing anything, or anyone other than you will give me the peace you offer. Today, Jesus, I proclaim you as Lord – the risen Son of God.
Merciful Christ, please bind my heart to yours. Give me freedom from any addiction, sexual hang-up, or other sins that keep me from loving you, and help me remember that you are my peace and my salvation.
A Prayer for Peace with Family Members
The conflict in my family is tearing at the most painful places. Again and again, I’ve prayed for your will to be done, but I have grown weary. Bitterness, anger, and pride seem to step in the way of reconciliation, and I no longer know what to say to this one I love so dearly.
Lord, we need your shalom, the peace of relationship, to move among us. Please tear down the barriers each of us has erected, give us tender hearts willing to assume the best of the other.
As I wait for healing to occur, would you give me the “peace that passes all understanding”?
In the mighty name of Jesus,
A Prayer of Peace for the Prodigal
My heart is broken. The child I poured love into has rejected my faith, values, and attempts at a relationship. I know you understand.
The perfect parent, your earthly children, rejected you even though you gave everything – even Christ, your only son. You know the pain of ridicule, rejection, and loss. You, too, longed to gather the lost ones like a mother hen gathering her chicks.
Jesus, I know you will restore the years the locusts have eaten. I pray difficult words. Please make my prodigal uncomfortable until he or she desires shalom, the well-being and contentment that only you give, and lead him/her into a relationship with you.
I look forward to the day when my child returns to the home of his or her youth and to you.
In the precious name of Jesus,
A Prayer for Peace if You Struggle with Anxiety or Worry
I feel as though I am lost at sea amid a raging storm. The waves crash against me, and I desperately cry out—afraid and unsure. But I know you are with me. You will never leave me or forsake me.
Anxiety and worry are no match for the bringer of Peace. The one who stilled a storm with a single word (Mark 4:35-41). Lord, I give you those areas of my life that are causing stress and fear.
Please, help me to focus my eyes on you when doubt or concern begins to cloud my thinking. Like the storm of old, please calm my spirit, for you are the Lord who is Peace.
Photo Credit: GettyImages/fizkes
Tammy Kennington is a writer and speaker familiar with the impact of trauma, chronic illness, and parenting in the hard places. Her heart is to lead women from hardship to hope. You can meet with Tammy at her blog www.tammykennington.com where she’ll send you her e-book, Moving from Pain to Peace-A Journey Toward Hope When the Past Holds You Captive.