I usually slip away sometime in the afternoon to listen to the day’s Pray As You Go entry; that is my afternoon devotion. Each Pray As You Go entry has a song, a passage of Scripture (read twice), and some questions. The entry for November 22, 2019 had Luke 19:41-48 as its passage.
My mentor taught me to look for “what catches my attention” when I read or listen to a passage devotionally; the idea is that the Spirit will cause what I need in that moment to catch my attention. On this occasion, what caught my attention was the phrase “the things that make for peace” in the first verse. I was already very familiar with this passage; I remember studying it in Bible college and reading it many times since. I knew Jesus was accusing the people of Jerusalem of rejecting Him. What I noticed immediately during this reading, though, was that Jesus didn’t say the people had rejected Him. He does, in a sense; that is what they did and somewhat what He was talking about. But that’s not how He describes it. He describes it as them not recognizing the things that make for peace. He describes them as not appreciating or accepting (or perhaps even being able to accept) the way of peace He demonstrated for them.
That’s what I saw in that passage on that day. Is saw that Jesus was not only offering these people a doctrinal truth or a salvation or a relationship with God. He was offering them a way of life that resulting in peace (presumably shalom, the wide-wellbeing of God), and they would not take it/could not see it. Now I know it could be argued that this translation (and I’m not sure which it is) is not the best translation. Indeed, other translation seem to translate it slightly different, and I’ve not looked up the Greek so I don’t know for sure.
But even if this isn’t the best translation, the idea is valid. Jesus did bring truth, including important doctrinal truths such as His being the promised Messiah; He said He did, so I know He did. He did bring salvation, and praises belong to His great name for that. He did bring a relationship with God; again, He said He did. But in addition to all those things He also brought things that make for peace. He brought a way of thinking and valuing and living that will, if follow, result in peace. He was the premier disciple and as such He demonstrated premier discipleship. He was the greatest citizen of the Kingdom and as such revealed Kingdom citizenship. He “came from Heaven to earth to show the way”, and did show that way quite excellently.
And this was something I truly needed to be brought to my attention. I need to know that there is a way of peace, that this way of peace was the way established by Jesus, and that this way will turn out well for me and all those in relationship with me. I need to know that as a husband and father. I need to know that as a minister on a staff of ministers. I need to know that as a follower of God. I needed to be reminded of the truth that this way exists and that the way to bless myself and everyone else I know is to walk it. I needed to be reminded of that truth, and I was so grateful when the Spirit and the Son of God did so.
And that is what I saw on November 21, 2019.