Christ Is Our PeaceDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
Ephesians 2:14 begins with a bold proclamation: "For he himself is our peace." In context, the "he" is Christ, whose blood brought the Gentiles near to God and God's people (2:13). The Greek of this verse underscores the identity of the one who is our peace, not just "he," but "he himself" (autos).
What does it mean for Christ to be our peace? When we hear this, we may be inclined to think of the inner peace Christ gives. We might recall the encouragement of Philippians 4 to pray with thanksgiving. Then, "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (4:7).
Yet, however wonderful and true it is that Christ gives us inner peace, this is not the meaning in Ephesians 4:14. When we read this verse in context, we see that peace has to do with ending the hostility between Jews and Gentiles and forging a new relationship of unity in Christ. Christ is our peace in the sense that he and he alone can mend the broken, hostile relationship between Jesus and Gentiles, and, by implication, between all enemies.
Of course Paul could have written, more prosaically, "Christ is the source of our peace." But by saying "He himself is our peace," Paul intensifies the truth he is seeking to convey. Moreover, he implies that Christ is not only the source of peace. He is also the one who keeps the peace, so to speak. If we wish to live without conflict among people, if we wish to live fruitful lives in community with others, then we must live in Christ.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: As you think about your life, where do you see a need for the peace of Christ that erases hostility and brings people together in unity? How might you be an agent of Christ's peace in your relationships at work? At home? In your church? In your community and beyond?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, you are our peace. In you, I experience inner peace that exceeds all understanding. Yet, your peace touches more than my soul. You have come to bring peace among people, to erase hostility, to enable human beings to live together with love, justice, and fruitfulness. Thank you for the peace that you alone give. May I live today in your peace, seeking to be a peacemaker in all of my relationships. Bring peace to this broken world, Lord! Amen.
P.S. On my blog, I have published an in-depth article on the peace of Christ. Click here to read Seeking the Peace of Christ: Christianity and Peacemaking.
Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Youth Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.