“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, ‘Peace be unto you.'” John 20:19
I want to go back to that evening, that evening that You, Jesus, appeared. What were the first words that came out of Your mouth? Well, they weren’t in English and they weren’t in Greek. You were a Jew speaking to Jews. The first words You chose to greet them with were, “Shalom aleikhem!”
In a sense, You took the spectacular and tied it in with the ordinary. Yet, I think You were pointing out that the “ordinary” is greater than we know. “Shalom aleikhem” is a typical greeting and departing phrase in Hebrew. It still is today. But where English and Greek translate it as “peace”, it really means so much more. And here, You, the Miraculous, stepped in, pulling everything together, and establishing a new “ordinary” as Sar Shalom, “Prince of ‘Peace'”.
You walked into this room, well, really You just appeared into this room because the doors were locked, and there You were one second where You weren’t the second before. Here You were, as though it was ordinary and in the regular order of things. Here You were with the “ordinary” greeting. Here You were among “ordinary men”. Here You were in a room of “inferior’ people who were hiding from the “superior” people. And in the midst of all the ordinariness of life which includes the tough and nasty stuff, like betrayal, persecution, fear, and doubt, You come in and speak “Shalom aleikhem” over them.
See, speaking “shalom” over a person is one of the most beautiful blessings You can give. Because shalom is more than peace as we think about it. I’m not even sure that after I researched, anyone really fully grasps it. But here You are coming in when everyone’s world has seemed to fall apart, when everything appears to be against them, when all hope has fled. Well, someone like Mary and maybe John were already starting to regain some of that hope. But here You are to actually give it.
Jeff A. Benner said that shalom “is one who has, or has been provided, what is needed to be whole and complete.” So I think about when You announced on the cross, “It is finished,” that it was not just about what You had done but what You had started for us. You were and are our Prince of Shalom. You were here to be our provision, to be everything that we need to be whole and complete.”
Our translations in English use the word peace. But often that carries the meaning to us of something absent of strife. But this word is so much more. The Refiner’s Fire shares that “Hebrew words go beyond their spoken pronunciation. Each Hebrew word conveys feeling, intent, and emotion. Shalom is more than just simply peace; it is a complete peace It is a feeling of contentment, completeness, wholeness, well being, and harmony.” But where does it come from? It is completely tied up in Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace, You, Jesus. To speak “shalom” over someone is to speak over someone all the things that shalom entails. And Shalom is who You are. So, You were speaking Yourself over Your loved ones in that room that day. And it’s Your desire to speak Yourself over us.
And when You speak, the words are never empty. It never goes out void. It will complete what it sets out to do. Isaiah 55:11 and 12 are so exciting when tied in with this! “So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace (SHALOM): the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” See, Jesus leads us in His shalom and look how exciting it is to be in Him!
So, according to Scripture, what is shalom really? What does it look like, act like, feel like? Precept Austin shared that shalom implied “to be safe, sound, healthy, perfect, complete…[It] signifies a sense of well-being and harmony both within and without… Completeness, wholeness, peace, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, fullness, rest, harmony; the absence of agitation or discord, a state of calm without anxiety or stress…The root meaning of shalom is to be whole or sound and this leads to translations that speak of completeness, wholeness, well-being, welfare and peace. Shalom also includes the idea of vigour and vitality in all dimensions of life. In short, shalom speaks of holistic (“holy”) health for our souls and spirits.”
Now stop for a minute. Then is shalom only for after we leave this earth to be with the Lord? I mean how can I live a life in the absence of agitation or discord, without anxiety or stress? Well, it’s not that those things don’t exist around us still, but we are no longer bound by them or controlled by them. Persecution may still persist, discord still taunt us, but in the midst of it all, we can stand and stare them in the face and dwell in Shalom instead. The Prince of Shalom has given us Himself; He has given us all that comes in Him, and in the midst of the greatest tragedy, we can rest in Him and focus on Him and be restored in Him, and remain unscathed by the mayhem around us. He is with us. He is actually with us giving us all of Him we will need for every situation.
He is speaking shalom over you and me. No matter what, He is giving us “wholeness and harmony in relationship with God.” (Kenneth Hemphill) All that I need to make it, to overcome everything comes from Him. He is the basis of my shalom. He restores to you and me what was lost in the garden. He restores our righteousness, which is everything we lost in Him.
No matter what, in Christ, I will be more than OK because, You Jesus are the absolute OK. If I have You, I have shalom. John MacArthur shares, “Close to the meaning of the Hebrew word shalom is the word used by the Kekchi Indians of Guatemala, who define peace as “quiet goodness.” The term they use conveys the idea of something that is active and aggressive, not just a rest in one’s own heart away from troublesome circumstances. The biblical concept of peace does not focus on the absence of trouble. Biblical peace is unrelated to circumstances—it is a goodness of life that is not touched by what happens on the outside. You may be in the midst of great trials and still have biblical peace.
I’m thinking of it being tied in to these words, You spoke, Jesus. “I will never leave you nor forsake You.” “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” You spoke Yourself over us and into us. You are Sar Shalom, Prince of Shalom. This is Who and What dwells in me. Now it’s time that I started actively believing and aggressively living in that truth. See, You tell me to “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and doesn’t do it, to him it is sin.” Well, what is more good, more beautiful, than letting You be Who You Are in me? I never said it was easy. But You have said that it is good. And only God is good, right? But You spoke Your goodness over me. You placed all that is You in me because You are in me. I have more than potentiality in me. I have actuality in me! I have You! I have Shalom!
There is so much more that Shalom is but to know it, I just have to let You show me. I have to not only seek You out in Your Word, but apply all that You show me in my life and my attitudes. I have to let You do a mighty work continually in me. Skip Moen recalls the account of the man at the pool of Siloam in John 5:6. Jesus , You, asked him if he wished to be well. Well that seems like a “dumb” question. But what You were asking was if he wished to be “generated whole”; if he wished to “come into existence” as he was meant to be. Am I totally committed to a new existence, a new start right now?
Now, I am the Lord’s. I am Yours. But there are areas of my life, like how I handle hardships, that I need to commit to You, that I need to commit to a new start in You. And I think it all goes back to living in and out of that blessing, Shalom, in You. Lord, keep my existence in You and not focussed on the stuff that surrounds me. Keep me focussed on the One Who dwells in me and has filled me with His Shalom! You spoke Your glorious blessing over me. May I be committed in newness of You to speak blessings back over You and over others and over every circumstance. Let these words of shalom and Your Shalom reign in me. “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. When I boast, it shall be about the Lord. The humble shall hear of it and be glad.” May my life and my words be that of Shalom, my Prince, my Lord, my Saviour, my God.