What does the Gospel of Peace have to do with shoes?
In Ephesians Paul writes that the shoes of the gospel of peace are the third component in the armor of God. What is the gospel of peace, and why do we need it? Oh, yes, and how do we wear it like shoes?
A mom calls out to her son, “We’re leaving! Are you ready to go?” He replies, “Yes!” But when she peeks around the corner at him, she argues back, “You are not ready! Put on your shoes!”
Shoes indicate a readiness to move. We use them to protect our feet while walking, running, jumping, and more. Without shoes our unprotected feet hamper our freedom (unless you have Tarzan callouses!)
In the Bible we learn about the armor of God—a spiritual picture of the tools Christians need to be able to live for Jesus (Ephesians 6). The gospel of peace, one part of the armor, somehow resembles a pair of shoes. “Stand firm therefore…having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;” (v. 14-15). So, what is the gospel of peace, and why do we need it? Oh, yes, and how do we wear it like shoes?
Shod refers to the wearing of footgear or shoes
In a chaotic world, the word “peace” fills our hearts with longing. We live during a time in which hatred, war, terrorism, and betrayal abound. When you scroll through the daily headlines, perhaps you wonder, “Is it supposed to be this way? Why can’t we all get along?” I offer you the truth that in a world of increasing chaos and confusion, we have only one hope: the gospel of peace.
What You May Know
God as the Creator
Before we dive in further, let’s talk about what is likely familiar to you regarding Christianity. First, you probably know that Christians believe God made the world. This fact, however, causes many people to ask, “If God is good, why do I see so much evil?” It is true that God created everything good, but mankind rebelled against Him, and disaster ensued.
Regardless of our rebellion the truth remains that God designed and created each one of us, and He has the right to tell us what to do. Because He gave us souls and made us look a bit like Him on the inside, He longs to have a relationship with us, too. He wants the type of friendship in which He can show how magnificent He is by filling our hearts with joy.
Jesus as a Good Man
Secondly, you may assert that Jesus was a good man, and you’d be right. In fact, Jesus was the only perfect human being to walk this earth. He built His life on truth, love, kindness, and sacrifice. He healed the sick, fed the poor, loved on notorious criminals, and even raised the dead! In the end, His own death and resurrection served as the foundation for the Christian faith that still thrives today.
Even when people wrongly accused Jesus and sentenced Him to death, no one found any true evidence with which to condemn Him. Pilate, the man ruling over the proceedings, told the angry mob, “I find no guilt in this man” (Luke 23:4). When the crowd kept screaming for Jesus’ death, Pilate ended up deciding he no longer wanted to be involved for fear of condemning an innocent man (Matthew 27:24).
Jesus as a Great Example
Finally, you might think that Jesus came so that we could follow His good example and love others. This is only a partial truth but a truth nonetheless. Jesus was always looking out for the good of others. He rebuked people for dismissing children as if they didn’t matter. He went out of his way to talk to outcasts. Jesus truly was an inspiring man.
How do you feel when, once in a blue moon, you hear an inspiring story on the news? It often involves someone who risked his or her safety to rescue or help another person, perhaps even a stranger. Doesn’t it fill you with the warm fuzzies? We all love a good rescue story. “Faith in humanity restored,” we whisper.
So, we excitedly read stories in the Bible about how Jesus treated society’s outcasts. In a highly racist and sexist culture, He pointed out the value in women, children, people of a different ethnicity, and grossly ill individuals. These examples give us inspiration and motivation to treat other people the same way:
- The homeless man with a cardboard sign at the stoplight.
- The troublemaker at school who lashes out because no one cares about him at home.
- The lonely woman sitting at the window of her small nursing home room who never gets any visitors but always watches the parking lot just in case.
Jesus left us with a picture of true humanity as God intended it—a heart of love for God and compassion for each another that results in self-sacrifice and true joy.
What You May Not Know
The Divinity of Jesus
The gospel (or “good news”) is the beautiful truth that Jesus came to earth to restore the relationship between God and humanity. What you may not know about this good man, however, is that He was God Himself in human form! He came to bring lasting peace to all who would embrace Him and His teachings.
Jesus asserted and displayed His divinity all throughout the Bible. We find one such example in John 20. One of Jesus’ friends, Thomas, is having trouble believing that Jesus has risen from the dead. He tells his other friends that he refuses to accept the strange report unless he could see and touch Jesus Himself. (I find it difficult to blame him. Most of us would probably have responded the same way!)
To assure Thomas that He is alive again, Jesus appears to him, urging that he touch His hands to prove He isn’t a ghost. Thomas, overcome with the miracle of His resurrection, falls to the ground and worships Jesus, saying, “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28). Jesus accepts this declaration by not rebuking Thomas’s response.
Now, think about this story with me. The Bible teaches that people should only worship God; it is blasphemy to worship anyone or anything else. We also know that Jesus was a perfect man.
Then how could Jesus have accepted worship unless He was God? If He were just a man, it would be a sin to accept the worship of another human being. Sinning in this way would be blasphemous and show that He was not such a good prophet after all. In this way, Jesus demonstrates that He is God.
The Compassion of Jesus
Additionally, when talking about the gospel of peace, it’s important to know that Jesus didn’t come for society’s “good” people but for broken people. While He certainly loved on the rich as well, His ministry as a whole focused on the poor, sick, afraid, and abused. He preached,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted ~ Matthew 5:3-4
Jesus knew that the people who really needed peace of mind and soul were those crushed by the burden of life. Indeed, peace is an attribute of those who have turned to Jesus:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. ~ Matthew 5:9
“Come to Me,” Jesus calls, “all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Soon after this invitation He assures us that He has a gentle heart. Now, perhaps, you are beginning to see why we call it the gospel of peace.
You don’t have to clean up your act before you come to Jesus. If you feel lonely, afraid, depressed, or betrayed, you are a perfect candidate for the gospel.
The Mission of Jesus
Finally, Jesus came not as our judge but as our rescuer. He says, “I did not come to judge the world but to save the world” (John 12:47). You see, ever since humanity decided to push God away, our world has plunged into more and more destruction. Chaos—the opposite of peace—erupts when we reject the God of peace.
Instead of judging us for our crimes (which He had the right to do), Jesus came to live and walk among us, preaching peace and demonstrating love. Through His selfless life, His sacrificial death, and His exciting resurrection from the dead, we now possess the opportunity to be at peace with God.
There will be a day in the future when God will act as judge over humanity. For those who have embraced the gospel of peace, though, no judgment will fall on their heads, because Jesus took it all! This is what true peace of soul looks like—knowing that, no matter how hard life is, God has already taken care of our greatest problem.
Put on Your Shoes, the Gospel of Peace!
The passage in Ephesians 6 says that we are to show we are ready by putting on the gospel of peace like shoes. We now know what the gospel of peace is. How do we wear it? And what are we ready for?
Once you believe that the gospel is true and accept it personally, you will never be the same. It changes people. The lost feel found; the hopeless find hope; the broken experience healing of heart. With such a beautiful cure for our inner malady, a gospel-saturated individual will want to share it with others who feel lost, hopeless, and broken, too!
People who are truly in love with Jesus are always ready to talk about Him. It’s like a young couple in love—they take any opportunity to talk about the wonderful person they have found. True Christians may live an active or sedentary life on the outside, but on the inside they are always on the move, looking for people to help (as Jesus did).
So, we put on the gospel of peace like spiritual shoes, ready to fight Satan’s spiritual armies and to rescue people from their sins by telling them about Jesus.