As Jesus continued to preach, teach, and do miracles of healing, His ministry moved from the local synagogues, where he was no longer consistently welcome, to private homes and fields. When He sent the seventy, He anticipated that they would begin in private homes, likely telling the good news of Jesus over a meal, perhaps following the meal with prayers for healing (accompanied by that miraculous healing only Christ can bring). When they entered a home, they were to offer a blessing of peace. This was not the formal greeting in common use. Instead, they were to speak a blessing of peace over the home and its inhabitants. If a man of peace was there, a man willing to receive the peace of God, He said, their blessing would rest on him. They could speak the blessing with confidence, knowing that the peace of God would actually rest on the man who was willing to receive it. To make this absolutely clear, they were not just making a pretty speech of words. They were literally offering the peace of God.
After the giving of a blessing of peace to those in the home was received, the sent ones were to accept the hospitality of this peace-filled home. In the way that only Christ can do, the blessing they gave also blessed them. It was not just that they felt satisfied about being obedient in giving the blessing. They actually also received the blessing they gave away!
When you think about this, it is truly amazing. With a few words, these sent ones could offer peace, recognize one willing to receive it, and have a peaceful lodging. Even better, if the greeting of peace were not received, they did not have to stay there. Jesus intended that they would dwell in peace and He made arrangements in advance so that they could do so.
That peace that only God can give is available to all who will receive it, and, as a result, we, too, can live in peace. We, too, can offer peace, knowing the Source of that peace, and be confident that those who are willing can receive greater peace than they ever imagined. It all starts with the peace of God in our own hearts, for we cannot give what we do not have.
Were I with you today, I would speak a blessing of peace to you. May this written blessing suffice.
Peace be to your home and all who dwell there, in the name of Jesus.
Receive the peace only our Lord Jesus can give, then speak the peace to all who will receive it.
Dwell in peace.
Go in peace.
The new book, The Waiting: When the Answer to Your Prayer is Delayed and Your Hope is Gone, as well as The Clay Papers and The Road to Bethlehem (an advent devotional guide) are now available at http://www.leannahollis.com/online-store/ Get your copy today.
The link to last night's post is here: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/12/cats-at-door-problem-of-sin-and-miracle.html