Text: John 14:25-31
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)
In his book You’re a Winner, Charlie Brown!, Charles Schulz renders Charlie Brown and Linus looking very concerned. Violet asks, “What are you two standing here looking so worried about?” Charlie explains, “We’re afraid of the future!” She asks, “Are you worried about anything in particular?” Charlie says, “Oh, no, we’re worried about everything!” Linus adds, “Yes, our worrying is very broadminded!”
We live in a world that inundates us with much cause for alarm. A century ago, a tragedy could happen on the other side of the world and you might never hear about it. Yet in this hour, we have real-time access to atrocities as they unfold from every corner of the earth. Such inundation of calamities can leave our minds overtaxed with grief, our hearts gripping with fear, and our souls weighed down with despair.
Jesus knew these times would come. Nothing that makes the news headlines today has the capacity to rattle His throne—which is eternally unshakeable (Hebrews 12:28). He also knew that His followers would need an anchor for the soul in troubled times—a power greater than themselves to face the trials ahead. So He bolsters them with these words just hours before His arrest and crucifixion:
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:26-27)
Peace is something that everyone wants but few seem to find.
“Peace” comes from the Hebrew “shalom,” which refers to a general well-being or contentedness that comes from God. Shalom isn’t the absence of trouble, it simply denotes wholeness or completeness.
Peace is one of the fundamental characteristics of the messianic kingdom anticipated in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament (see Numbers 6:26; Psalm 29:11; Isaiah 9:6-7; 52:7; 54:13; 57:19; Ezekiel 37:26; Haggai 2:9; Acts 10:36; Romans 1:7; 14:17).
We are afforded peace because Christ bore the penalty for our sins on the cross. Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1) and now have the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts (Romans 8:11). Consequently, a person can have peace in the troubles of life because “he who is in you is greater” than anything you face in this world (1 John 4:4). The prophet Isaiah decreed, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
Jesus wants us to know His peace. Robert Murray McCheyne said, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.”
Peace isn’t the absence of troubles, it’s God filling our hearts despite them. So when fearful or anxious thoughts come, remind yourself of Jesus’ words: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Heavenly Father, the world is facing perilous times. There are troubles all around us. Yet Jesus promised that we would never be left to ourselves. Holy Spirit, show us how to guard our hearts in the face of alarm and distress. Grant us your shalom and help us to grow in the blessing and fullness of your peace. In Jesus’ name, amen..
Questions for Reflection and/or Family Discussion:
- What are some of the downsides to having the world at our fingertips 24/7?
- What issues in the world are most troubling to you right now?
- In what season have you experienced the most peace in your life? To what would you attribute that?
- Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” What do you think is needed on our side for this to be our reality?
- What difference would it make in your life if you could hear Jesus praying for you in the next room? How should it affect you this week that He is praying for you?
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