Lent Day 35 - He Is Our Peace

Pax Romana was fragile, pounded precariously together with cross nails and oppressive taxation. But one night, angels shattered the repressed silence with joyful songs of “Peace on Earth!” They announced a different kind of peace to a weary people: The long-awaited Prince of Peace had broken into history in the shape of a poor working-class baby in an insignificant corner, far from the seats of Roman and temple power.

Once he went public, Jesus’ rule was not marked by military or economic might. Instead, he gave himself away, granting sight to the blind, feeding the hungry, liberating the oppressed, and affirming the dignity of women, children, and others who were marginalized in Jewish society. 

Rather than imposing security by repression and death, Jesus took on the scornful cross in loving sacrifice. In so doing, he unveiled as deceitful the powers of death that held humanity estranged from God, from one another and from the rest of creation. Christ, our peace, effected salvation, giving new life to the dead. He reconciled our relationship with God, healed from enmity to a broken humanity, and restored the entire created order. This is surely Good News of true peace, Pax Christi. Jesus is our peace.

Jesus also made peace through his death. When he died, the temple curtain, separating off the Holy of Holies, ripped in half (Matt. 27:51). Now access to God was no longer restricted to certain people or certain times! 

Christ has abolished “the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph. 2:15–16, ESV). Thanks to Christ’s peacemaking life, death, and ongoing ministry through the Spirit, Jesus followers are now one.

Ruth Padilla DeBorst is a Costa Rica–based scholar. She and her husband, James, lead the Center for Interdisciplinary Theological Education (CETI).