Peace Be To This House…

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“Peace be to this house.” These are not frivolous words. Nor do they concern the kind of peace that is simply the absence of war, or animosity. The peace that Jesus is telling the disciples to wish upon the houses and the families that take them in on their mission journeys, is the peace that only Jesus can give. It is a peace that transcends any earthly peace.

Jesus was no hippy, no dreamer. This idea of peace is more real than we can imagine, except through the grace of faith. Jesus knows that he is sending the disciples out as sheep among wolves. He, therefore, gives them some very practical and spiritually sound advice. He wants them to go out to the people with no ornamentation, no extra clothes, or sandals, just themselves. They are not to go out like so many charlatans, dressed in fine clothes in the latest styles. He does not tell them that they have to “dress for success” in order to be attractive in themselves, or to attract others. They do not need such shallow and outward things. What they are to bring with them is the depth of their real selves and the good news of Jesus Christ.

When they enter a house, Jesus tells them to first bless it with the peace that they themselves had come to know from being in the presence of Jesus. He tells them that if there are peaceful souls within that house that blessing of peace will rest on them comfortably and will engender hospitality. If not, that peace will return to them, they will not lose it, but will have it to offer again at the next house. A similar message is given to them when they enter a town, or village. If the place accepts them, they are to stay there and heal the sick, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near you” (verse 9). If not leave that place and shake its dust from your feet. That place’s rejection of the Word of God, the kingdom of God, will cause them more suffering on the Last Day than “Sodom.”

Let us take these words into our own lives. Have we spent enough time with Jesus in prayer, and at our Sabbath services, that we have come to know that deep peace that can only be found in him, and that he wishes us to take out into the realms of our daily lives? Do we have enough faith in him that we can innocently and joyfully offer that peace to others? Would it not be a good habit to develop, not just to study the word of God, but to put it into simple practice? Next time you go into another’s house, try this out. Say to them, before anything else, “Peace be upon this house.” If it is another Christian’s house say, “Christ’s peace be upon this house.” You might be surprised by the reactions you get. You will certainly surprise your hosts. But is that not a great way to start any relationship, or conversation, or social evening? Who knows, it may open more doors than just those of the house. Maybe it will open the doors to one another’s souls. If you believe, God will always be the grace within such a greeting.

Lord, we yearn for that peace that surpasses all understanding, which you offer us every day. Open the doors of our hearts to hear you saying, “Peace be upon you,” in every moment. Fill us with holy zeal so that we will be able to share that peace with all others. We pray this in your name, Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.