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The Peace of Christ (1)

. 3 min read

2014/08/03
Christ Church, Mountain Top, Holy Communion
Children,
Luke 24.33-53 
Message,
2 Corinthians 5.14-21 
“Peace
be with you” Jesus says in this resurrection appearance to his disciples (Luke
24.36). Now, he could simply be addressing their fear – how many here would
feel comfortable speaking with a recently dead person? Theologically, however,
he is also addressing their sin, the sin that lies between them, the sin that
has created a breach, a gulf, a distance, in their relationship. These men
turned their backs on Jesus, denied knowing him, disappeared into the night at
the point of Jesus’ greatest personal need.
We
ignore this dimension of the story because we are so fixed on an image of Jesus
as a nice person, a good person. He is both nice and good. He has also proven
himself adept at the exercise of power, effective at channeling his anger with
great force. Now, he’s back from the dead and – if this was a horror flick –
he’d have a score to settle with his old crew. Instead: “Peace be with you.”
So,
it’s not a horror flick, and I am not suggesting that the disciples were
horrified to see Jesus. They knew he loved them, no matter what they had done.
At the same time, they were so glad to know that they did not have to deal with
that huge elephant: We let you down, we abandoned you, we failed. We can’t look
ourselves in the mirror. How shall we ever look you in the eye? “Peace be with
you.” “Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed” (Luke 24.47).
So, they were able to move all the more quickly to joy.

David
to Solomon – settle the scores
            1 Kings 2.1-10; Joab, Shimei;
Barzillai
      Honor-shame society … revenge killings
1
Kings 2:5, Joab of Abner and Amasa: “he murdered, retaliating in time of peace
for blood that had been shed in war”
      “I don’t get mad. I get even.”
      Managed to settle scores without an
expanded cycle of revenge
“Love
keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13.6, NIV)
No
record …
No
one is innocent – if our innocence is taken from us, we are no longer innocent,
even if a victim (Volf).
To
keep our innocence, we must not only abhor violence. We must also abandon our
identity as victim.
Between
victim and perpetrator there is no reconciliation, there can only be justice or
injustice, and even the justice is flawed. Who can return a person’s innocence?
      Reconciliation does not occur unless we
are willing to give up our identity as victim, or as perpetrator (whether the
one who initiates the cycle or the one who settles the score).
“God
has given US the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5.18)
      The gospel unites us to God and to one
another
      “The peace of Christ be with you”
Abraham
and the king of Gerar – pray for him (Genesis 20.7)
Job
and his friends – pray for them (Job 42.8)
Keys
to the kingdom (binding, loosing, Matthew 16.19; 18.15-35)
“Love
keeps no record of wrongs”. The path to innocence is through love.
“Love
your enemies” (Matthew 5.44). “Be reconciled to God”. Peace is not made between
friends, but between enemies.
      “Peace be with you” (Jesus to his
disciples)
      “The peace of Christ be with you”
(greeting in worship)
            Not because we are all friends
            Because we choose to love one
another
“For
the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for
all” (2 Corinthians 5.14).
      Jesus died for both victim and perpetrator
(Volf).
No
matter the struggle:
      Gossip, rumor
      Competition, pecking order
      Preference or principle
“God
has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” “Be reconciled to God.” “Love.”
Reconciliation
a two way street
      While never easy, with an equal, it is
more straightforward
            Mutual forgiveness
            Practice (if not the feeling) of
love
      Next week, examine unequal relationships,
with a focus on family
      Then, in two weeks, reconciliation with
ourselves, particularly our past
Resources:

Miroslav
Volf. Exclusion and Embrace.