Salvation and Shalom
“Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
Yesterday, I began reflecting on Luke 8:40-56, a passage that focuses on two miracles of Jesus. In the first of these, he healed a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. Yet this healing happened, not because Jesus reached out to touch the woman, but rather because she reached out secretly to touch the fringe of Jesus’ garment. After the healing occurred, Jesus had the woman reveal her identity to him. She explained what she had done and how she had been healed. In response, Jesus said, “Daughter..your faith has made you well. Go in peace” (8:48).
The language of this verse suggests a couple of crucial insights. First, the verb translated as “made you well” is sozo, which is usually translated in the New Testament as “to save.” This is the verb used for eternal salvation based on God’s grace and received in faith (see Ephesians 2:8, for example). Yet sozo has a broader meaning than this. It could be translated as “to heal” or “to make whole.” Jesus was saying that the woman’s faith in him brought her into a state of wholeness, both physical and relational. No longer would her ritual uncleanness separate her from her community and from full participation in shared religious life.
Second, the word translated as “peace,” in Greek, eirene (from which we get the word “irenic” and the name “Irene”), represents the Hebrew word shalom. This word can refer to the absence of conflict, but it has a far richer meaning. Shalom, in the Old Testament, conveys a sense of wholeness and rightness. Shalom occurs fully when the world is just the way God intended it to be. Thus, when Jesus said to the woman “Go in peace,” he intended more than “Go and don’t have conflict in your life” or “Go and don’t be sick anymore.” Rather, he was blessing the woman with a fruitful life.
Jesus came to bring divine salvation and shalom. We will experience these in all fullness in the life that will be ours beyond this life, thanks be to God! But, like the woman in Luke 8, we can begin to enjoy the salvation and shalom of God in this life. We can be healed from that which makes us less than whole, as the power of God fills our lives. We can begin to experience rightness in relationships as the love of God flows through us to touch others.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How have you experienced the healing, saving power of Jesus in your life? Are there areas of your life where you need this power today? How have you experienced the peace of God in your life? Are there areas of your life where you need more of God’s peace today?
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, how I thank you for your gifts of salvation and peace. Most of all, I thank you for eternal salvation from sin and death, for peace with God that lasts forever, for the promise of the fullness of life in your future kingdom.
Yet, I am also grateful, Lord, for the chance to begin to sample your salvation and shalom today. Thank you for all the ways you have helped me to be whole as a person and to experience wholeness in my relationships. Thank you for your continued work in me, helping me to be conformed to your image.
Even as I continue to experience more of your salvation and shalom, may I be a channel of these gifts to others. In my work, in my family, in my neighborhood, in my church, and every place else, may your salvation and shalom flow through me to others.
I pray in your name, Lord Jesus. Amen.