What I’m Thinking: Peace Upon the House

When Jesus sent his messengers to the villages of Judea, their first words were words of peace.

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the tenth chapter of Luke’s gospel (Luke 10:1-11, 16-20), at least those sections related to Jesus sending out and receiving back seventy disciples that he had appointed as messengers, as apostles, as those who would proclaim the good news of the imminent reign of God.

Strikingly, Jesus sent them out without a lot of resources other than that message: no extra bag, no extra clothing. They were to rely upon the traditional hospitality of the region – and, by the way, it worked. They came back healthy, happy, and delighted with their successes.

But it wasn’t entirely a one way exchange – or lack of exchange. When one of these disciples came to the door of a home that had offered hospitality, the disciple would say, “Peace be upon this house” – peace be upon this house – and their peace would be shared with those in the household.

Now, people have imagined a lot of different ways for the reign of God to come near, for the reign of God to be present. Most of that imagery has been concerned with the images of armies, banners, marching figures, trumpet calls. Hardly anybody – except, apparently, Jesus – had imagined that the reign of God coming near would look like a rather tired and weary and dirty person on the threshold of a house asking hospitality, someone who brought peace to that house.

Peace to that house. The foundation of the reign of God is peace in the house.

I’m not sure the disciples fully recognized that. When they came back to Jesus what they were excited about was the way that the demons had been subject to them. They didn’t talk about having brought peace to a lot of houses.

What if we recaptured Jesus’ instruction? What if we recaptured the notion that our primary purpose, our primary directive from Christ, is to bring peace to the houses in which we live, the houses of our neighbors, the houses of the stranger, the houses of those around the world? If we did indeed bring peace to those houses, wouldn’t that indeed be the reign of God?

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , , | Posted on June 27, 2022

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  1. by Nina Buchanan

    On July 1, 2022

    During the Bible Study did you answer either of these questions, one concerning Luke 10 and the other Galatians 6? We’re the 70 or 72 people sent to spread the Gospel all men? I looked in several translations but the language was vague. Do verses 2 and 5 in Galatians 6 contradict one another? Do we tend to and carry our own burdens or do we bear one another’s burdens?

  2. by holycrosshilo

    On July 8, 2022

    Aloha, Nina! Apologies for not replying sooner!

    The Greek of of Luke 10 is not clear whether all the seventy (or seventy-two) were men, women, or a mixed group. We do know from Luke that some women traveled with Jesus and that they seem to be included in the broad description “disciples.” Whether any participated in this effort simply isn’t clear.

    As for Galatians 6, Paul didn’t think he’d contradicted himself, so it’s an exercise in trying to follow his thought processes – not an easy task. My best guess is that in verse 2 the burden is the failings of other persons in the community. It’s those that Paul advises us to be gentle. In verse 4, though, Paul turns to each person’s work, by which he probably means their calling in Christ. That work can’t be delegates, whereas the reintegration of a transgressor into the community requires the help of others.

    If someone else stumbles, my job as a Christian is to help them, encourage them, and continue to support them as members of the Christian community. With my own particular calling as a Christian, it’s up to me to do the work (whatever it is).

    I do think that if we follow Paul’s thinking around again, he’d probably agree that if we stumble at our work, then it is the part of the others in the Church to help and encourage us. He just didn’t complete that part of the circle.

    – Eric Anderson

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