Sunday, December 22, 2013
Peace I Leave With You
John 14:27 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.
Jesus came to bring Peace on Earth — or so the heavenly host declared:
Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
From beginning to end, Jesus was about peace! But it was a peace that the world would simply not understand. This was not a political peace among troubled nations — instead it was about a deep abiding peace that would fill the very depths of the hearts of God’s people.
The peace of the world is a temporary sense of getting along with one another. Jesus’ peace is a deep peace that touches the very heart of the person, a peace that rules even when the nations of the world can not get along with one another. This is a peace that allows his children to live within the chaos of a lost, crazy and corrupt world and yet sense a peace beyond anything that can be imagined.
This was the gift that he had brought with him at his birth and the gift that would be left through the presence of the Holy Spirit after his departure.
Somehow when I think about “Peace on Earth,” I think about the beauty pageants where they young ladies are asked what kind of difference they’d like to make in the world. Of course we all have this stereotypical image in our minds of the blonde who says, “world peace.” The irony is that she is really in no position to bring that about — and yet it seems to be the popular answer. The problem is that the peace that the world is seeking is only temporary. It’s a type of cease-fire along borders but is not a personal sense of calming the troubled heart.
I’ve ended up in some pretty crazy situations in life, especially during the early years of our lives in the former Soviet Union. The world before us was chaos as the Soviet Union broke apart into separate independent countries. Never did we know from one day to the next what to expect. The stress of living in a new nation with new rules and everything constantly shifting was sometimes beyond comprehension. The borders were always a time of concern as one never knew whether the laws had been changed or what the attitude of the officials might be that night. I have quietly laid on my bunk in a train on the border between Russia and Ukraine — listening to the officials in the hallway shout out their orders to us. We have had our bunks and our luggage searched — and held our breaths as our passports were taken away for what seemed endless minutes. What would be our fate that night? Would we be asked to leave the train at a border town with no documents and no way to get home? It had happened to others, it could happen to us.
Countless times the flashlights have been shone on our faces as the men with the AK-47’s asked the questions. And in the midst of it all — peace!
This is the peace that Jesus came to give us. Not a peace that solves border control issues and the attitudes of power hungry officials, but a heart peace that says, “do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” A peace that encourages us to take a deep breath and depend on God Almighty to take us through the difficult circumstances of life. A stream of peace that endures from today through the end of time. A peace that reminds us that there are problems too big for us to fix, but that we can trust in God on high!
Glory to God!
Peace on Earth!
Jesus' birth announced peace on earth and with his departure the promised Holy Spirit began and continues the work of bring peace to the troubled hearts to his children.
Lord, may I live in your peace. Amen.