"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
I was there above in the pictures you see… you will probably only be able to see my Jews for Jesus hat, because we were so squashed against each other that I felt like saying, "Je suis… Sardine"! The famous slogan has been toted the world over. "Je suis Charlie" means: "I condemn the attack", "I am for free speech" "I want a democratic nation at peace with all religions, thoughts and views to the exclusion of all fanatics and fundamentalists." Jesus’ statement, therefore, seems very a propos, because he offers "Peace", but he immediately adds "not as the world gives". In other words, what people want is not what Jesus is offering. Jesus is not Charlie, if you will. When He says, "My peace" His peace is not what we understand as Peace, necessarily. Jesus used the word "Shalom". Shalom comes from "Shalem" which means "wholeness" and "spiritual harmony" filling every aspect of our lives…not merely "Je suis Charlie". It is much more. It is the fullness of God’s presence.
I was there on September 11, in New York, just a few miles away. I saw the fire and I saw the smoke and then I saw them come down—- and along with them all the infrastructure and strength of the most powerful city in the world. I learned the lesson along with fellow Jews for Jesus missionary, Karol Joseph, who described it in a pithy statement, that I have mulled over these last few days in Paris, "It is not the absence of danger that gives security, it is the presence of the Lord." There you have it: "Shalom Shalem"— The fullness, the wholeness, the entirety of God’s peace that comes only in knowing his presence. Interesting in Hebrew, we call his presence "hamakom" or the place. His presence is the safest place. How do you get that fullness of peace? That wholeness of life?
Did you see the first pictures of hundreds of riot police armed to the teeth that we put on our website the days of the attack? You would have agreed with the French people, during those three murderous days, that said, "We are at war!" Congruously, there is a famous french saying ,"If you want peace, prepare for war". The peace Jesus offers does begin by recognising that we are at war… not against Jihadists or Terrorists, but against God. The Hebrew Scriptures speak quite clearly to the fact that God wants to rain down Love and Compassion and Beauty and Light upon us. Unfortunately, our sins and our rebellious nature as "Charlie" brings down God’s judgement along with the incontrovertible consequences to our own actions.
Isaiah 48:22 “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the Lord.
This much should be obvious to anyone who watches the news. Peace, true peace, comes by the acceptance of Jesus’ death as the innocent victim who died as a willing hostage to our sins. There can be no peace without the Prince of Peace.