Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.
We live in troubled times. There is the constant danger, especially these days, of falling ill; and, worse, succumbing to the illness. There is a huge financial crisis looming, putting our livelihoods in jeopardy. Many of us have already lost our jobs; the jobs of others are threatened. There is great uncertainty about what the future holds in store. But you don’t need me to tell you this; you know it already. What you perhaps need me to tell you is what you can do about it.
Well, as usual, all I can do is point you to our Lord, who says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” That’s John 14:27. I don’t want you just to mark that today; I want you to memorize it too. “But,” you say, “we can see things are getting worse.” Well, where did Jesus ever say he was gonna make things better in this world? And it is this that I want us to understand.
We often think that peace is obtained when strife is eliminated; when storms are stilled. But that is the world’s definition of peace, and it can never give us that because the world is never at peace. At best, it offers occasional truces that don’t last for more than a few minutes. The peace that Jesus provides, on the other hand, can be obtained even in the middle of strife and storms, because HE is with us. When I was a kid I was never afraid of anything when I was with my father because HE was with me! He was solid. He was dependable!
Jesus is solid. Jesus is dependable! Far more than my father, God rest his soul. But we don’t seem to understand that. And therein lies the problem. There was this one time the apostles were caught in the middle of a storm (see Mark 4:35-41). They were terrified they were going to drown, even though Jesus was with them. Why were they so scared? Because they didn’t believe he was dependable! If they had only sat down beside him and sang, “With Jesus in my boat, I can smile in the storm”, they actually might have smiled because, hey, what’s gonna happen when you got Jesus in your boat. (Even if he does appear to be asleep!)
I wanna tell you something else that Jesus said. “A time is coming,” he said, “and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home.” This was in another context, of course, but given the situation today, I thought it was very apt. Because then he says, “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.” (John 16:31-33). But like everything else, it all comes down to this question: “Do you believe?” I hope you do.
Because God wants us to be channels of his peace in this new world he is making. Peace be with you.