Finding peace remains an ongoing search.
I continue my exegetical and practical quest concerning peace-making. First, as a student of the Scriptures, I persist in my study of peace particularly as expressed among the earliest followers of Jesus. Pentecostals confess the paradigmatic nature of Jesus’ life (and the lives of the Apostles) for the contemporary believer. Reading from the Gospels and Acts, Pentecostals believe the powerful witness, healings, miracles, and exorcisms performed by Jesus to be core aspects of positive mimesis. Ironically, Jesus’ sacrificial life and death and his holistic perspective on shalom
often fails to inspire the same kind of positive imitation. The cumulative effect of more than 100 New Testament references to peace deserves greater attention as part of Pentecostal thinking. As Christians living in the “already/not yet” kingdom of God, the prayer “thy Kingdom come” must provide not only futuristic hope but also present reality. The present reality of the miraculous must be extended to a theology of peace. Thus, as Zechariah sings with anticipation concerning the future ministry of the infant messiah: “to guide our feet into the path of peace” (Luke 1:79b), so also the angelic host sings similar praises to God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). The gospel story provides consistent fulfillment of these oracles. For example, Peter proclaims an inclusive ethnic message to Cornelius’ household: “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36) and Paul calls for believers to embrace a similar message: “with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15). The New Testament provides a wealth of Spirit-led oracles that call for peace with expectation for present fulfillment. Read the rest of this entry »