A couple points to consider.
First, are you at peace? This isn’t a trick question. Are you at peace?
Secondly, how does peace relate to your place in the kingdom of God?
Peace seems really in short supply today. The struggle to find peace is ongoing without a whole lot of success. The search for peace leads us to try practices like meditation or something called ‘being in the moment.’ These practices along with others can help us feel more relaxed and push off the stressors in life for a while but when you get cut off in traffic…you are hotly corrected for having the wrong political views…the boss expects more while offering less support…peace disappears. Our struggle for peace continues because we don’t quite understand how to make it happen. Peace doesn’t come by denying reality. Peace doesn’t come by having the biggest army. Peace is a gift and a gift comes through grace. Grace is an expression of kindness, a love that is given without merit or worth. Grace is hard to find in our polarized world. No wonder peace is so rare.
Jesus was sending out seventy followers with the instruction to offer their peace wherever they went. Their peace was directly related to being a part of the kingdom of God. Prior to this, Jesus rebuked James and John for wanting to destroy a Samaritan town with fire from heaven because the village wouldn’t receive them. Jesus was now giving a strongly different idea about being an emissary for the kingdom of God.
Jesus sent out seventy to the surrounding area where he was about to go. The first thing they were to do upon entering a town was to offer their peace. If their peace was rejected, the town wasn’t rejecting them but God. The response was not to destroy the town but to wipe off the dust from their feet. Since God was the one being rejected, God will deal with them.
If their peace was accepted, they were to stay at that home and enjoy the hospitality offered. The seventy were not to move from house to house. In other words, they were not to manipulate and play one home against another for their personal benefit. Rather they were to stay at the one place and receive the homeowners gracious hospitality. Do you know what happens when grace is met by grace? This is where the kingdom of God can be called near and peace is found.
The seventy returned excited over the ways that the kingdom’s presence was evidenced. Jesus commented that he saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Amazing how something as simple as an offering of peace, an expression of grace can undercut the essence of evil. What Jesus wanted them to celebrate wasn’t witnessing to the evidence of the kingdom but being secure of their place in God’s kingdom.
Does peace seem to be in short supply? Then share your peace. If it is received then both sides will graciously know that the kingdom of God is near. This is truly something to celebrate.