Here we see Jesus about to enter into Jerusalem leading up to his death, and we see him lamenting greatly over Jerusalem. He weeps openly over the fact that the people of the city were so hard of heart. He weeps because the people and the city were going to suffer, “…because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (verse 44) But there is one comment the prefaces his lamentations over Jerusalem and it is a telling statement from which we too can learn much.
The Things That Make for Peace
Jesus begins this section saying these words, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.” (Verse 42)
The problems that the people and the city were to suffer was because they did not know the things that make for peace. They had no concept of what is required to make peace. We too likewise need to understand and seek the things that make for peace for it is by the pursuit of peace we shall find life.
Jerusalem failed to find peace and it was destroyed. The temple was torn down and the people killed by enemies for their failure to recognise Jesus and the things that make for peace. In this section of scripture Jesus prophesies of these things that were to come and they were all fulfilled.
But what is this peace that he is talking about? And more importantly, how do we find the peace that the people of Jerusalem failed to find in Jesus’ day?
Peace does not just happen. The Apostle Peter wrote, “He that would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile; let him turn away from evil and do right; let him seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3:10-11)
If we want to find peace we first need to be seeking and looking for peace. Too many people today are looking for trouble. The mindset of the modern man is one that says to look after yourself. Statements like, “It’s my way or the highway,” and “What’s in it for me,” and “I’m looking after number one,” are typical of the self-centred ways of the world today.
Do such attitudes fit with a desire to seek for peace? No, on the contrary they get peoples backs up and promote conflict.
Which leads to the second part of Peter’s process, which is to “…pursue it (peace).” First peace must be sought and then it must be pursued. It must be chased down and held onto and never allowed to get away from you.
The Attitudes of Man
Mankind does not seek peace or pursue it. They like to talk about it, but in truth the world thrives on conflict, stress and competition. Look at the news stories on any given day and ask yourself, “Do these stories promote peace or not?” I will guarantee that most of what you hear is stressful, about people suffering, human tragedies and so on. Many will be about man’s inhumanity to man.
Why is this so? Because man does not know what are the things that make for peace. So many are out to get what they want for themself and to heck with everyone else.
The Attitudes of Peace
But we see in the scripture above that Peter said the reward of seeking and pursuing peace is they would have life and see good days. Jesus said in the Beattitudes, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Paul condemns mankind because, “…the way of peace they do not know.” (Romans 3:17)
The peace they are all speaking of is not about peace between nations, but the inner peace that will lead us as individuals to the Lord. We are to be transformed into the image of Christ and that means we are to find the peace that passes all understanding. If we are at peace in ourselves, then whatever goes on around us is of no consequence. If we seek peace and pursue it and hold onto it, then nothing and no event external to us will shake that peace. We will stand strong and not be swayed by outside events…just as Jesus stood in peace.
The things that make for peace are the things of God. They are about being obedient to the word, learning the truth of the New Covenant and applying it in our life. They cover the teachings that we must follow to be transformed into the image of God. They are about applying the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives so that we can stand in the face of all opposition at peace. They are the things of freedom promised in the New Covenant so that we will not stand in condemnation.
Yes finding and living by the things that make for peace is a lesson we must learn and not fail as they did in Jesus day. They were lost for lack of this knowledge and suffered greatly for it, but we have the advantage that we can learn from their error and find God’s peace. So seek it, find it and pursue it in your life.
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