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Hello! This word is used by nearly every English-speaking person, nearly every day, and apart from the fact that we know that it is a word used in greeting someone, we do not have a clue as to what it means.
Theories abound as to its origin. Some think that it is a contraction of an archaic English greeting, “Whole be thou.” Others believe it to come from the English greeting “Hail, thou!” as is found in the angel’s greeting to Mary in Luke 1:28. No matter the source, the modern salutation of “hello,” or the less formal “hi,” holds no other meaning.
When Jesus sent His disciples out, He commanded them to use a specific greeting, the same greeting our Lord himself used, “Peace be unto you.” We find that greeting to be very commonly used today in the Middle East. The Israelis greet one another with the Hebrew word for peace: שלום (shalom). Arabs and Muslims use the Arabic word سلام (salaam).
Every day the people of the Middle East greet each other with a word that is more than their version of our “hello,” it expresses an idea that has in practice eluded them all for their entire existence.
At this very moment, war continues to lay hold on the entire Middle Eastern region, and, as has been the case for long before anyone can remember, no hope for peace is in sight.
Every day, the Arab and the Jew greets his fellows with the dream of peace, but it is not so with those who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27).
He is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6), even as God is the author of peace (1 Cor. 14:33).
If the Arab ever comes to know سلام, and if the Jew ever comes to know שלום, it will be only because they came to know the person of Jesus Christ. Without Him, the word will mean no more to them than “hello” means to us.
Do you know Him today? The Savior stands knocking at the door of your heart. If you will but open up to Him, the peace of God will rule in your heart, and you will stand before Him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. Amen.
David M. McNabb
Editor & Bible Guy