Section One: The Spiritual Characteristics of a Godly Life.
Our current theme: Characteristic Four: Being A Warrior.
Our reading for today: John 14: 25-27 (MsgB)
I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at My request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s My parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.
If you’re a long-time TV-watcher like me, (and a lover of the classic game shows like Let’s Make A Deal, The Price Is Right, and others), you’ll recall the ever-popular off-screen announcer, Don Pardo (of Saturday Night Live fame), informing us of the “parting gifts” the losing contestants will be receiving as they leave the stage. How sad!
Well, long before Don Pardo, Bob Barker, and Vanna White (Wheel of Fortune) were giving away such things, Jesus of Nazareth was offering “parting gifts” to those He’d not be seeing again after His resurrection and ascension into heaven! And how much better is it to get a generous helping of Peace that transcends all understanding versus a new toaster oven or hair dryer made by General Electric?
As we have been discussing throughout this entire blog series, it’s so vitally important for followers of Jesus to realize that the Master left none of us empty-handed when He ascended into heaven! Whether it be the first-century disciples, or you and me here at the beginning of the 21st century, we’ve all been given an amazing “parting gift”… a gift that the world really has very little understanding of, nor an ability to utilize with any confidence at all!
Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians (6: 10-18), calls this “parting gift”…
The Shoes of Peace.
And if we take Jesus at His word, this amazing pair of shoes will do wondrous things for us…even more than those famous ruby-red slippers ever did for Dorothy in Land of Oz!
As I see it, when you or I slip on a pair of these Shoes of Peace, we are welcoming the all-knowing, all-wise God of the Universe to give us what the Hebrew language calls shalom. And if you’ve never done a word-study on shalom, let me give you just a brief overview.
In the English language, the noun, peace, is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as:
A freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility, a freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.
But the noun, shalom, in the Hebrew language is so much more than just the absence of disturbances, violence, or war. In Strong’s Concordance (7965) shalom is defined this way:
Completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. In modern Hebrew the obviously related word Shelem means to pay for, and Shulam means to be fully paid.
Now, do you see why Eugene Peterson (The Message Bible) translates Jesus words in today’s text the way he does?
I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s My parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.
You see, the Shoes of Peace that Jesus leaves with His followers gives us something the world just won’t easily comprehend. As a matter of fact, this shalom of God that comes into us and works through us via the work of the Holy Spirit, will even make us scratch our heads at times as well!
Indeed, shalom is a God-breathed peace that comes from above. It’s not something that can be manufactured here on earth by human effort. Shalom is truly a gift that comes to us through Jesus, our Savior, transcending all of our earthly understanding, and giving us a wholeness and completeness in this life that can never be matched or duplicated…even if I should win the jackpot round on Wheel of Fortune!
My prayer: Jesus, I’m so thankful that You left me with this amazing “parting gift” of shalom. It’s this pair of shoes that sets me apart from the rest of the world, and by the work of the Spirit, it’s the gift that allows me to remain at peace, even when the rest of my world is falling apart. I thank You, Father God, for this gift, and receive it today. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Have I been trying to construct a sense of peace in my hectic life through the work of my own hands? If so, am I willing to stop such nonsense and slip on God’s gift of shalom, Jesus’ “parting gift” of peace that truly transcends both my understanding and my ability to make it happen?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Over a thirty-six week period, you and I will take a deeper look into twelve key characteristics of a godly life. In other words, we’ll take A Journey into Christian Discipleship. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Journey home page for ease of use. ENJOY!
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