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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Weekly Snippet: The Peace of Jerusalem

Yesterday was a bit of a scrambled day, and somehow I managed to forget this post.  I'm sure you may be experiencing these same sort of problems right now--students have semester finals, adults have year-end projects, and everyone has the holidays to plan and execute, on top of random life-crises that tend to crop up right about now.  You know, even in the most turbulent times, there is a calm in the middle of the storm for those who know the Lord.  Do you know what I mean?

We live in a world that is constantly clamoring for peace, but just as frequently, going to war.  This situation between people and nations has never changed, not even for Christmas.  I keep hearing Christmas songs like "Grown-up Christmas List," on the radio, and they only serve to remind me how far we are from realizing world peace--not even for a day, or an hour.  Why?  Because we don't understand peace.  We can't even recognize it.

Jerusalem literally means "the habitation of peace," or "a foundation of peace."  The name is a remarkable contrast to the history of the place.  Kings and kingdoms have risen and crumbled there, and prophets and Christians have been murdered within those walls. This, too, was the place where Jesus was cruelly and hatefully executed on a rubbish heap just outside the walls.  What better place to talk about peace?  It is like the condition of the whole world in microcosm.

Jesus took one last look at Jerusalem as He neared its gates for the end of His earthly ministry, and explained why we don't have world peace:
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.   They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19: 41-44 NIV)
 If you're still looking for world peace, understand it now.  Jesus is our peace.  He is the peace of Jerusalem.  He  is the peace of this world.  If we have Him in our lives, we will know real peace, even if we are persecuted on all sides.  This is a deep concept that clearly many people still don't understand.

Only Jesus can carry us through these trials, and only He can promise an end to them all.  Any other kind of peace is only based on the wills and words of fickle human beings, and it is as short-lived as they are.  Those who look elsewhere are blind, and in their darkness they will only know despair.  If you are looking for lasting peace and safety, take refuge in Jesus' arms!  Jesus also said about Jerusalem,
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  Look, your house is left to you desolate.  I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ (Luke 13: 34, 35 NIV)
 So, come, Lord Jesus!  Let us bless His name, and let us be blessed by His presence!  Amen!

Until next time, this is me reminding you to stay savvy!  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem (see Psalm 122: 6-9).