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by | Nov 28, 2022 | Born Again, Call to Prayer, Peace

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! ‘May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!’” (Psalm 122:6-7 ESV)

In our psalm verses we are called to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. The earthly city of Jerusalem—its name means “city” or “foundation of peace”—needs our prayers. The city has suffered through centuries of warfare and political and religious strife. We pray fervently for peace, not only in Jerusalem but in every city and every nation, so that people can live in safety and the Gospel might be proclaimed without fear or restraint.

There is another Jerusalem in our lives and prayers, the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God. The apostle Paul compares the earthly Jerusalem to a life captive to sin, a life lived under the burden of the Law in a futile attempt to earn salvation through good works. Those efforts can only end in deadly failure: “For by works of the Law no human being will be justified in His sight” (Romans 3:20a). We are justified only through faith in Jesus our Savior, who carried His cross to a site of execution outside of the earthly Jerusalem. There He was crucified and suffered the penalty of death that we deserved for our sins. By God’s grace through faith in our crucified and risen Lord, our sins are forgiven and we no longer live under the condemnation of the Law.

In his comparison of the earthly and heavenly cities, Paul writes, “The Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother” (Galatians 4:26). We are baptized. We have been buried with Christ and raised to new life through faith in His Name. We have been born again and we have a new hometown. Birth and baptismal certificates will list a certain location as the place of birth, but as brothers and sisters in Christ we can now claim the heavenly Jerusalem as our home. As another psalm reports concerning the city of God, “The LORD records as He registers the peoples, ‘This one was born there'” (Psalm 87:6 ESV).

While we long and pray for peace in every earthly city, by faith we already enjoy a taste of the lasting peace that one day we will know fully in Jesus’ presence. In Him we have the peace that comes only through the forgiveness of our sins and the security of knowing that our Lord is with us at all times and in every place. While we celebrate our earthly heritage and pray for our cities, we long for the day when we will know the greater joy of the heavenly Jerusalem, our true hometown. We do not know exactly what heaven will be like, but when Jesus comes back, He will gather us to Himself and we will live forever in His presence in that holy city. We will know peace within its jeweled walls and security within its golden towers. We will be home.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant peace to our earthly cities until we know eternal peace in Your presence. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on November 22, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

Reflection Questions
1. Think about the neighborhood where you grew up? How has it changed since you were a child?
2. Have you ever been to Jerusalem? Why does Jerusalem figure so prominently in the Bible?
3. What images do you get in your mind when you think of a future, heavenly Jerusalem?