Saturday, May 20, 2017
More Than a Salutation
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.
Often people will close a letter with a salutation such as “grace and peace” or just “peace.” This is a farewell greeting that expresses a desire for this person to experience peace. When Jesus gives this farewell salutation he does something altogether different. He doesn’t just wish his followers peace, he tells them that he is leaving his peace with them. This something radically different, for Jesus entered the world as the Prince of Peace, which describes something about Jesus’ very nature. It means that he is leaving this part of his nature here with his followers. This is what he will leave with them after his resurrection and through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
This peace will transcend anything that the world has to offer. It becomes the peace that defines a Christian, who can experience a deep and settling peace, even in the midst of life’s biggest trials. It was the peace that Jesus exhibited when he was in the midst of the storm on the sea of Galilee, he remained calm when called before the religious leaders and Pilate. The peace was Christ’s peace, and this he was bestowing upon those who would follow after him. Much more than a simple salutation, but a blessed promise.
The promise of the peace of Christ is powerful, and yet it’s easy to stray from the shelter of that peace. It seems, at times, that we wander in and out of that place of peace with God. The daily demands of life draw us out from under the shadow of that peace and tempt us into fretting. Then again, we hear the voice of our Beloved calling us into the place of sweet, gentle and all-consuming peace, even in the midst of life’s storms.
When we begin to comprehend the immenseness of this promise, we should be overwhelmed. The peace of Christ is more than we can comprehend but it is being shaped and formed in those who are in communion with our holy God. The peace of Christ is being brought to perfection or completion by the one who is at work within us. The peace of Christ allows us the possibility of putting things into perspective, an eternal view that sees things differently. Jesus promised this to all of his followers.
We don’t have to be ruled by the circumstances of this life. The peace the world has to offer is temporary. We are invited to step into the eternal stream of the peace of Christ that transcends the temporal.
Yes, much more than a simple desire for God’s people, but another self-emptying of Christ. His peace, more than a salutation, is gifted to those who will partake.
Lord, I am grateful for the deep sense of your peace which reaches to the deep recesses of my life. Thank you for bringing peace to places that I didn’t know needed your peace. Amen.