August 11, 2018
READ: Luke 21:7-11,25-28
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give (John 14:27).
In the sixties, a mystical, upbeat pair of tunes lent voice to the better aspirations of a growing counterculture. “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” anticipated an era governed by peace and love.
Peace may guide the planets, but here on Earth conflict still runs amok. The Age of Aquarius dwells in the house of myth and good wishes.
Humans have enjoyed few periods of relative peace. The Pax Romana (“Roman Peace”) reigned from 27 BC to about AD 180. But Rome’s pax wasn’t all that peaceful. Roman soldiers enabled extortive tax-collection practices and quelled any hint of uprising. At the empire’s expansive borders, Roman legions enforced the peace at spearpoint.
This was the time when Jesus walked the earth. The Jewish people wanted freedom from Roman oppression. Instead, Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple (Luke 21:5-6). He warned of “strange signs in the sun, moon and stars” and nations “in turmoil” (v.25). “People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth,” He added. “For the powers in the heavens will be shaken” (v.26).
And yet, He offered hope: “When all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (v.28).
When we think of that salvation, it’s vital to understand it as Jesus’ redemption of all creation. “Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse,” wrote the apostle Paul. “But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” (Romans 8:20-21).
The Age of Aquarius pined for spiritual meaning in the stars, but our true craving is for the Creator of those stars. His salvation is both cosmic and personal. Let the Son shine in.
365-day plan: Luke 13:22-35
Read Romans 8:18-25 to gain a fuller context of the struggle of the human race and God’s redemption of us.
What robs you of personal peace? Where do you find hope and encouragement?