From Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.
To all those in Philippi who are God’s people in Christ Jesus, along with your supervisors and servants.
2 May the grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
What an amazing greeting Paul sent to the Church at Philippi, “grace and peace.” More than a greeting, this phrase is used as a blessing by Paul to the early Christian churches in many of his letters. But this blessing has lost a lot of it’s impact in translation. Similar to how we greet people with “hello,” Paul uses both the Greek (Gentile) and Hebrew (Jewish) cultural greetings of this church. Greek speaking people would say ‘grace’ or chairmen on greeting each other, (from the same root as grace, charis). Jews would recognize the greeting of peace, or shalom, from Aaron’s blessing of Israel, “May the Lord be gracious to you…and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26) Christians from both cultures understood the significance of this blessing, that we as believers have grace and peace from God through Jesus Christ.
We are saved by God’s amazing grace. It is God who extends the gift of grace to us, a gift we can never earn, only confess our unworthiness and by faith receive God’s salvation. It is grace, by the power of the Holy Spirit that we continue to learn and grow into the example of Christ, who was grace and peace on earth. So grace is not a one time event, because God multiplies grace when we share the good news with others. As children of God our daily lives are permeated by God’s grace which we share in and have fellowship with each other.
Peace, shalom, is the restoration of our relationship with God through the sacrifice of Jesus. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you, Jesus told his disciples. (John 14:27) We experience this peace of God, that passes all our understanding, a peace that stays with us through the trials and turmoils of life. This is a peace we experience that transcends our circumstances and draws us closer to God. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit and as children of God we are called to be peacemakers, and to fellowship with each other in peace.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison awaiting trial in Rome. He had every reason to not be at peace, to not feel the grace of God, and yet he sends this blessing to the Philippian church. Why does Paul seem to be filled with peace and even joy? Paul has trusted God, made himself “a slave” in the service of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. He has experienced new life through the risen Lord and the peace of reconciliation, the shalom, only God can give. There is tremendous peace and joy that comes from sharing the good news of Jesus. Today, pray for all those new and growing in Christ, especially our youth who were baptized and confirmed at church.
Prayer: Holy God, we give you thanks and praise that we have your grace and peace through your son Jesus Christ. We ask that your grace and peace will continue to grow in us so we can share the good news of Jesus with others. Amen.