Shalom! That’s a Hebrew greeting, meaning peace. It’s not, however, just a picture of people getting along. It’s a blessing and a declaration of health and victory in your life. It implies that you will be whole and complete as you go about your day. It’s the perfect culmination of rest and calmness in your life, the absence of discord.
So let’s start this Holy Week with a single word prayer that means much more than a single word in our language:
Now that I’ve spoken a blessing over you, let me introduce you to Sar Shalom, or The Prince of Peace.
Several years ago, I found myself in an awkward position. I had a burning desire to teach my students about communion, but it wasn’t a part of my curriculum. Even more challenging, my students were 2, 3, 4, and 5 year old children. At first I ignored what seemed like a silly idea, but the idea continued with me.
Finally, I surrendered and decided to ask for permission to step away from our curriculum for a Sunday. I was granted permission and began my research to put together a lesson plan appropriate for my young children.
I was invited to attend a Seder, or Jewish Passover Feast, with a local Messianic Jewish congregation. I also began consulting multiple sources of commentaries and books regarding the Last Supper (this is the Christian term for the final meal Jesus observed with his disciples at Passover).
I can remember with great clarity the moment when I found myself in a true crisis of faith. As I sat reading the story of Jesus’ final hours with his disciples, I found this:
It was time for supper and the devil had already tempted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God. So He got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel He had around Him. John 13:2-5 NLT
One commentary I read on these verses explained the revolting job that it would have been to wash the feet of these men. These were men who lived before roads were paved. These were men who were poor and may not have owned a pair of shoes. These were men who had recently walked many miles to get to Jerusalem on paths of dirt, rock, and palm leaves, leading a donkey.
During Christ’s time, the job of washing feet was reserved for the lowest of all servants. Not even the head servant would be found doing this job.
Are you imagining the disgusting, vulgar job that it was to wash their feet?
If you’re still not sure, this same commentary went on to explain that this job would be much like cleaning someone’s toilet in our culture today.
Why would the Messiah CHOOSE to do this job just hours before His death?!?
Maybe it’s not hard for you to understand that Jesus was operating out of love in this moment. He loved the disciples and wanted to serve them. I can stomach that answer, until I get to this verse:
For Jesus knew who would betray Him. That is what He meant when He said, “Not all of you are clean.” John 13:11 NLT
That was it! A faith crisis. My world was shattered.
I walked to my leader. Through sobs I cried, “If you’re telling me that Jesus KNEW that Judas would betray Him and still He chose to humiliate Himself before him because of love, then I don’t understand anything about what love is.”
I didn’t find an immediate answer to my question. It took time for me to understand that the thing which enabled Jesus to operate in love rather than fear or anger was an understanding of his WORTH.
Jesus knew that the Father had given Him authority over everything and that He had come from God and would return to God. John 13:3 NLT
This month have you followed Stephanie’s, Jamie’s, and Yvette’s discussions of WORTH?
Did you learn that God has given you authority over your life?
Did you learn that you have come from God?
Did you learn that you will one day return to God?
That, my friend, is the only worth you and I will ever own. I was unable to see this truth in the moment of my crisis because of a deep struggle with shame. It took many years and many more crisis of faith to learn these things.
Over the years, I have met Sar Shalom, or rather, He has met me… in my deepest, darkest moments. He has walked into my disgusting, revolting messes and washed my feet.
Today, I have Shalom because of the work Jesus did on the cross. I am whole and complete because the Prince of Peace was secure enough in the knowledge of His own worth, to pull me out of the pit of my own sin.
I am convinced that when we know WHO WE ARE and TO WHOM WE BELONG, that we cannot live in any other way except to reflect our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I hope you’ll join me on Friday as we discuss how to allow our worth to invade our souls so deeply that it compels us to act as Christ did.
Until then, can I challenge you to read, in your Bible, the accounts of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection this week? I know you’ll be blessed!