Titles of Jesus Christ: Our Peace

I think that when we hear Jesus talked about as “Prince of Peace” or “Our Peace,” we usually think of Him making strife cease. We picture Him setting up a world without war and fixing the strife between human beings and God. Those are definitely part of what’s going on, but there’s also a whole lot more. We can dive deeper into what “peace” means — and gain a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and what He is doing — by studying into the Hebrew word shalom.

Shalom is a key Biblical concept. It occurs over 250 timed in the Old Testament, and that’s not counting related words like shalem. It’s most often translated “peace,” though the King James Version uses about 30 different English words. Those include prosperity (Ps. 35:27), rest (Ps. 38:3), safety (Is. 41:3), using shalom as a salutation or greeting (Judg. 18:15; 1 Sam. 25:5), and in reference to someone’s welfare (Gen. 29:6; Ex. 18:7).

The Hebrew word shalom comes from the root verb shalem, which means “completeness, wholeness, harmony, fulfillment.” That’s all included in shalom as well, along with the English meaning of “peace” as an absence of strife. Also wrapped up in this concept is the implicit “idea of unimpaired relationships with others and fulfillment of one’s undertakings (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, by Harris, Archer, and Waltke, entry 2401a). It’s a much more nuanced word than we give it credit for in English translations.

Restitution and Healing

Shalom is wholeness — nothing missing, nothing broken. It is a state that humans don’t end up in naturally. God created us perfect, but we’re now fallen people living in a fallen world. Peace is an elusive thing.

There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation, neither is there any shalom in my bones because of my sin. (Ps. 38:3, Hebrew word added, all quotes from WEB translation)

Sin is something we’re all guilty of, and it’s something that causes brokenness. We’re not whole or complete, and the covenants that people of the past made with God are broken by humanity’s sin. If you want to fix something that’s broken, missing, or stolen, God requires restitution (shalem in Hebrew) in order to satisfy the requirements of law (Ex. 22:3, 5-6, 12, 14). In order to fix what is wrong with us, the process of restitution required something on a greater level than animal sacrifice or paying some money.

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God’s Love Story — PDF online

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. - Ephesians 5:31-32The final version of what I’m going to call an “e-booklet” is now online. You can download “God’s Love Story” and read a chapter outline at this link.

Here are a couple excerpts. This first is from the introduction.

One reason we gravitate towards tales of heroism, rescue, and love is that there is a basic need in our souls for a relationship with God and His Son. Stories where the handsome prince rides up and rescues the fair princess speak to our longing to know the Prince of Peace, Who laid His life down to rescue His bride from captivity to sin. Jesus Christ is the most powerful, most loving, and most perfect hero-lover to ever exist, far surpassing even the most ambitious human attempts to fashion a story’s hero. The Bible is a living, dynamic book that includes instruction, history, prophecy, and a revelation of the plan of God which reads like a story. My personal theory as to why the Bible reads like a story is because our idea of what makes a good story comes from the sequential narrative God uses to reveal His plan.

This paragraph is from a discussion in Chapter 5 about the Greek words translated “love.”

While agape is a higher kind of love, I think there is something amazing in recognizing that it is not the only love God has towards us. Before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples that after His resurrection, “ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.” (Joh. 16:26-27). The Father has phileo for those who have phileo for His son. This means the Father Himself has common interests and friendship with those who love and believe in His Son. In this context, it is certainly not a lesser love than agape. Philos is an incredible kind of love to share with the creator of the universe.

I hope those of you who choose to download and read the full e-booklet find it edifying and encouraging. I would love to hear your feedback.