Who is Rest?

Jesus IS our peace. So says Ephesians 2:14.

Peace as a concept has an incredibly rich heritage biblically. In both its Hebrew and Greek forms, it means far more than cessation of war. Instead, it denotes a fullness of order, joy, and rightness. It is also fundamentally relational, working in both human-human and human-divine realms.

In Ephesians 2:14-16, Jesus is incredibly active for the sake of relationship. He kills, he makes, he breaks down, he abolishes. Yet the main clause is that stative verb. In all this acting, the bigger point is that He is. And out of what He is flows a world of possibility for us. Look and see: separation from God nullified by his propitiation, even the historic and formidable separation between Jews and Gentiles turned into unity by his work alone.

And even though it was achieved by work, it was achieved because of who He is, work only Jesus could perform.

Peace is something that exists first and primarily in Heaven, in the Trinity. It is part of that overflowing goodness of that relationship, a defining characteristic. It is heavenly. We know in the new heavens, there will be no more war, but peace.

We also know that peace can be earthly. Before sin, there was harmony and unity, joyous order in peace. Even after the Fall, we can experience the break-ins of peace, feeling their power in moments across family, friendships, cultures. We know it is ultimately possible for us, because we are promised that we have experienced it in the past and will experience it again—in the new heavens and the new earth, there will be no more war, but peace.

Jesus too is heavenly and earthly. He is Peace; as a member of the Trinity he is the origin of joyful wholeness. And he came into Creation and planted that flag, and is working it out today even here, even now.

And he is the only one who could have done it. As fully God and fully Man, he was the only Person who could act in mediation, destroying in his own flesh the barrier between God and man, and between humans to each other. Sin was the barrier between God and us, and in his body he fulfilled the law and absorbed the wrath against lawlessness, removing the threat of condemnation over us. In Christ, we are not pursued like wanted criminals, but like wanted children, or like wanted lovers, because wrath is replaced by desire.

This creates profound equality before God, Jesus’s blood being our only badge of merit, over against class, race, education, charisma, or whatever. Everywhere we look, we see equality of need and equality of access in Jesus, in the incomparable Christ. I don’t have to struggle for worth, I have it. I don’t have to suffer in comparison, because I and my sister share equal value, beautifully expressed in multiplicity of gifts for making much of Jesus and blessing the people he made.

Let’s fully embody this peace. Jesus said “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” His half-brother James agreed, saying “a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” Peace is a person; let’s befriend him, and introduce him.