Peace To You
I began using Ephesians 1: 2, "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" as my greeting in a weekly letter I send. After about six months I decided to use others so I could learn more greetings from the Bible. The book of Ephesians is a letter from the apostle Paul to people he knew and loved. He sends a message of grace and peace. The letter I send is to be a letter of encouragement to those who were not getting out during COVID. No matter the circumstances, we all need encouragement. What an encouraging opening to say, “Grace and peace to you …!” It goes ahead and brings God's love right into the conversation! I love what Luke said in 10:5, "When you enter a house, first say, ‘'Peace to this house.'"
When I was in a boat in the Sea of Galilee I could not help but think about Jesus saying, "Peace. Be still." The Sea of Galilee is a seven mile wide and one hundred sixty feet deep freshwater lake in Israel. This is where they fished and sudden storms would come up often bringing some waves as high as 15 feet! Imagine being in the little fishing boat. Mark 4: 35-41, "That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, 'Let us go over to the other side.' Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, 'Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?' He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?' They were terrified and asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!'
Prior to this story Jesus had told the disciples about parables. So was this a storm or a parable. I think both. That is how He helps us understand. He can calm the "storms" of our life. All we have to do is call on Him! Psalm 89: 9, "You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them." That should not surprise us since He created the sea! Genesis 1: 9-10, "And God said, 'Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.' And it was so. God called the dry ground 'land,' and the gathered waters he called 'seas.' And God saw that it was good."
The prophet Isaiah knows while things may not look good right then, God promises us His plans are good. He tells us how we can experience peace on this earth. Isaiah 26: 3-4, "You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal." Perfect peace means an all embracing peace. It is God's Spirit living in us that gives us the peace and strength that we need. We will still have anxious times. We will still have troubles. But our mind can be steadied and calmed with Truth instead of fear and anxiety.
Jesus still speaks peace to us in the storms of our lives. He tells us to not let our hearts be troubled and to not be afraid. John 14: 27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
John 20: 21, "Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”