Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16-18 (NIV).
Another ending. Like 1 Thessalonians (and his other books), Paul ends with a doxology and invocation of blessings on his friends.
Focus on the peace. That’s the message Paul intended for you. It’s what he was looking for you to gather from this letter. Peace from the Lord Himself. Peace at all times; peace in everything with you. Not just you: all of you. All of us. All the time in all ways possible. THAT is the message of Christianity. More than Christianity, THAT is the message of Jesus Christ because Jesus is peace.
Jesus’ peace matters above everything else in the closing comments because Jesus matters more than anything else, period. Jesus’ peace allows us to stay calm when things around us are in chaos. Jesus’ peace lets us back away from arguments (like the ones I usually have) where we simply must be right! Jesus’ peace heals all wounds of the heart. Paul understood this. He understood the brutal world of malice and conquest in which he lived. He understood that it would eventually kill him (which it did) but could consume him and anyone else long before unless they could fight it with something stronger.
Jesus’ peace was stronger. It still is.
As you go into your weekend, remember that there are people today who are hurting. There are hurricane evacuees worried about losing their homes. There are people whose loved ones are dying, or have just died. There are people out of work, deep in debt, plagued by past decisions, living in abuse. Name your pet sin and someone is being tortured by it. Those people need peace. Those people need Jesus’ peace. Those people are actually you and me.
We can share Jesus’ peace by submitting to Him, then living out our lives in the ways He did: kindness, faithfulness to Him and to each other, patience, forbearance, understanding, and empathy. You and I GET to put Paul’s benediction into practice by sharing the peace of Jesus Christ with other people by the things we say and do. You and I get to focus on the peace of Jesus and let Him work His work through us by doing the things He would have us do. In doing that, we both experience and share God’s grace the way He intended it: peace for everyone.
For further reading: 1 Timothy 1:1
Lord, thank You for Paul’s epistles, for the words You shared through him. Grant us Your beautiful peace to everyone, everywhere.