26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered,each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Peace is one of those words that is hard to describe. It is the parents cry for peace and quiet. It is the soldiers cry for the end of war. It is the busy workers cry for a less intense work environment. It is the cry of protesters in the face of injustice. It is the cry of the teacher at the end of a tough week.
We don’t necessarily know what it is but it is something that we all want. Today I want to define it the ways Jesus used it. This is one way He spoke of peace, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) Yet in Isaiah 9:6 He is described as the “Prince of Peace.” How is this for an apparent conflict!
Jesus talked about “peace” and through what He said we can discover what peace should look like in our lives. Let’s take a look at the word peace. Jesus used it often and he used it in different ways.
It is used as a simple greeting. In Luke 24:36, Jesus says, “Peace to you.” Jesus spoke to the disciples as they gathered together after Jesus’ resurrection. He surprised them when He arrived in the room. Jesus’ arrival was much like Hey! So He said peace to you. He said “shalom” or peace in Hebrew of “eirene” peace in Greek. You can greet someone with, “We need to talk!”, “Listen buddy.” Or even, “Hey, good to see you.” This was a greeting. It was a-do not be alarmed. May comfort fall on you. When you are not ready to meet a dead man walking you need to be calmed. They needed to be disarmed or dis-alarmed. Your first words can make or break a conversation.
It is used to encourage community relationships Mark 9:50
50 “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”
This is from a long discourse to those who were following Him. Jesus is telling His Apostle and Disciples to influence people by caring for people, getting along with people and being a good neighbor. Be salty. Don’t use “salty talk.” Salt is used to flavor and preserve something. Jesus tells us to be salt and light in the world. That means to influence and impact your world. He reminds His followers, that they are not just to be doing their own business without regard for others. They thought they were special an they should be treated that way. They should expect others to submit and bow to them for superior spirituality. Though all they had was religiosity.
Jesus says to His followers, you need to have salt in yourselves and be at peace with each other. In context of chapter 9 Jesus was not just talking about Christian to Christian. Have you ever heard of the Golden Rule?
12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Jesus fulfills all scripture even when He speaks this verse for He expands the application in Mark 9:50. Just as Jesus’ disciple were to be salt that influences others so are we to influence our community through our relationships. Be at peace with each other.
It is a word of consolation and acceptance. Mark 5:34
34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Jesus is speaking to the woman who touched His robe because she wanted to be healed. She had battled a bleeding problem that she thought and others thoughts should keep her from God’s healing, blessing and a right standing with God. She does all she can do to get to Jesus without anyone knowing, without anyone seeing and without meeting the God who wanted nothing to do with her. She and everyone though she was unacceptable to God. She wanted to be cleansed so she could be accepted by God. She though now she could become ceremonially cleansed (according to the Mosaic law that required not bleeding for 7 days, a sacrifice and then and only then could she worship.)
Jesus made sure that by her act of faith and confession Jesus she was welcomed into the presence of God. By a weak faith in the power of God she was healed. Jesus said go in peace. Peace is knowing that she was known by God, accepted by Him. By faith God is always ready to welcome us into His family. Peace comes from knowing that God supremely cares for us and that we are accepted by Him.
It is a word of involvement As I began, I cited the reference in Isaiah 9:6 He is the “Prince of Peace.” and Matthew 10:34- “Do not think I came to being peace.” Now let me connect those two with this verse in Matthew 5:9
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Does Jesus want us to be peacemakers and have peace or not? He does want us to have peace, but peace is not peace without some hard work.
The great Isaiah passage is a great word to all of us we need to find a meaningful relationship with God. All need that. God brought it to us by Jesus’ involvement in our lives at His birth. The Holy Spirit prods and pokes us about our need for Jesus’ involvement in our lives. The great news is that His involvement in our lives never ends. The peace that comes from God’s involvement in our lives passes all understanding.
The gospel is one of the most conflicting things in the world. What about the conflict between religions throughout the world? What about new Christians who have been disowned by family members? The crusades lasted between 4 and 5 hundred years where the catholic church defended Israel against Muslims and other groups that sought to destroy or hinder God’s work. There have been many a marriage that ended because of the conflict brought about by the gospel. People continue to lose jobs or leave jobs because of the gospel impact. How many politicians have won or lost elections because of the gospel? Everyday the gospel’s involvement in our lives creates turmoil for us as we are bombarded by things that challenge what we believe. To all of this Jesus says; “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called Sons of God.” We become peacemakers when we mirror God’s love for others. We speak a word of hope, help and encouragement to those we meet. We use words that make a difference. But there is more than this.
William Barkley from his commentary on this passage says, “Jesus does not say peace lovers but peacemakers.” We don’t walk around saying lets just get along and love each other. It means we act in loving ways. We do things that improve a situation. So often that means, “No pain, no gain.” Peacemakers come into play as we are involved in acting in a way to bring the Word of God into the needs of the situation right before us. How could God’s Word impact immigration issues, what about the abortion crisis, violence, homelessness. We can go on and list a zillion things that need the influence of God. Jesus says peacemakers are involved in their world to act in a redemptive way. Some things that we do here are giving to a food pantry, Operation Christmas Child, Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong offerings, benevolence offering, even a recent offering for flood victims in Nebraska. We may be asked to do more to help in our area now.
If you can’t see that the problems we face today, need a huge dose of God’s wisdom to solve you haven’t really considered the problem. Just take the issue of immigration. Some think to solve the problem we need to build a wall. Others think we need to go and get anyone who wants to come into the country. But there is a vast amount that can be done in between. Sending well thought out letters to politicians. Don’t lambast them for how wrong they are or just encourage them to continue to be part of the problem. But instead offer a solution or a prayer that they would act wisely. Find a ministry you can start or join that works for immigrants that are here or that need to be here. Oasis International down in Bevo Mill is doing redemptive work as they help refugees to settle in St. Louis. Find a place where you can provide assistance to immigrants who need to learn English or cooking or shopping in America.
The peace Jesus speaks of is a peace that plunges us into action for the needs of others. While we share the gospel, we are also to engage and care for those who need God’s involvement in their lives. That is what it means to be a peacemaker.
It is used to empower perseverance You may be picking up a theme in the last few weeks that Jesus was leaving His apostles and disciples after being with them for three years. He warned them that they would face the same thinks that Jesus had and would face. They needed a good Word from Jesus. John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. In John, Jesus told them that He was sending someone to take His place in their lives. The helper was the Holy Spirit and He would give them a peace that is way different than what was acceptable to everyone around them.
Matthew Henry in his commentary on John points out the difference in the Peace of the World and the peace He gives. 1. Jesus’ peace is not a mere formality, but a real blessing. 2. The peace Jesus gives is of such a nature that the smiles of the world cannot give it, nor the frowns of the world take it away. 3. The world’s gifts concern only the body and time; Christ’s gifts enrich the soul for eternity. 4. The world gives lying vanities, and that which will cheat us; Christ gives substantial blessings, which will never fail us. 5. The world gives and takes; Christ gives a good part that shall never be taken away. 6. The world’s peace begins in ignorance, consists with sin, and ends in endless troubles; Christ’s peace begins in grace, consists with no allowed sin, and ends at length in everlasting peace. 7. As is the difference between a killing lethargy and a reviving refreshing sleep, such is the difference between Christ’s peace and the worlds.
Jesus gives life and life in abundance so is His peace beyond the world’s for Jesus’ peace is comforting, personal and endless. The gospel has shaped the world because God’s peace is wrapped up in Jesus. His peace is powerful enough to counteract the worst the world can throw at us. Not because we are better than anyone else but because the Jesus in us is our hope of glory.
We do not rely on good thought, a good plan, a good mind, a good psychological base, a good body or strong financial support. We rely on the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead. With this for our foundation we will persevere. We know we will persevere because we have such a great cloud of witnesses that surround us. This cloud is made up of men and women who have faithfully trusted in Christ to stand in the face of unbelievable trials, tribulation, and persecution. They have watched their brothers and sisters die for their faith. They have faced what seemed impossible situations and experienced God’s deliverance. If we have ever needed God’s peace it is now. We face a world that wants an easier, more acceptable, more tolerant, less demanding way to peace and yet without God they cannot have it. Yet we are to offer the peace that God gives through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
Jesus nails it down in John 16:33
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” He said, I have told you what is coming and how to have victory. I told you so that you will have peace in me. You have a life to live and it will be tough. But you can do it because I have overcome death and as a result, I have overcome the world. We may not want to believe that God is with us. We may not want to keep on following. We may just want to give up on the commitment that we have made to Jesus. And when we feel this way, we need to know that Jesus told us to persevere in His peace. His peace will help us see Jesus when nothing else will.
Challenge: Matthew Henry in his commentary on Matthew said that when Jesus was about to die His last will and testament was carried out.
His soul He committed to His Father; His body He bequeathed to Joseph, to be interred; His clothes fell to the soldiers; His mother He left to the care of John: but what should He leave to his poor disciples, that had left all for Him? Silver and gold, they did not need; but He left them that which was infinitely better, His Peace. (Matthew Henry- Mathew 16:27) The peace bequeathed to us is for reconciliation and love; it is peace with God, peace with one another; peace in our bosoms; a tranquility of mind arising from a sense of our justification before God.
(Matthew Henry- Mathew 16:27)
Is that what you want? Is it what you need? It is found in Jesus and it begins in Jesus. Find peace in Him today.