John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
During this time of the year, peace is a word we hear quite often. We sing of peace on earth, quiet, silent nights, and joy to the world. When I think of a peaceful time, my thoughts go back to an evening ice fishing trip on a lake in northern Wisconsin on a cold January night. The lake sparkled from a fresh fallen snow and the sky was illuminated by a full moon accompanied with millions of stars. The only sound heard was the occasional crackle from the warming fire. I was overwhelmed by the sense of peace from a quiet, winter night.
As I’ve considered what peace looks like, I find it interesting the contrast Jesus speaks about in the passage from John 14. How does the peace He offers us differ from that of the world? If we look at the context of this passage, the phrase, “peace be with you” was a common Hebrew greeting in Jewish culture. Today, it would be similar to us asking how you are doing with the hope that you are doing well. It was expressed as a longing or wish that everything was well with you.
The peace that Jesus offered was quite different and here is why. It was not simply a longing or wish, it was real and present. He comforted His disciples with the promise that although He will be leaving them, He was going to preparing a place for them and that the Holy Spirit will comfort, teach and remind them of the things they were taught. Jesus knew the challenges that awaited the disciples and encouraged them to not let trouble or fear distract them from the peace available to them through Him.
Philippians 4:6-7 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
So where do we find this “peace which surpasses all comprehension”? Is it found when our life seems to be going smoothly? Maybe when all our bills are paid and we have money in the bank? Is it found when our bodies feel strong and are not fighting illness? I’m convinced that true peace can only be found through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
John 16:33 – “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you will have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”
This peace is not based on the circumstances in which we find ourselves. It is based on the One who sovereignly designs them for His Glory and our good. Peace can be found even in the midst of a tumultuous world. It begins with faith in the One who has overcome it.
Dean Markofski, Elder