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Weekly Word

Entries in Trouble (1)

Tuesday
Aug142012

Peace in Troubled Times

Historically there have always been times of fighting, whether between nations, clans, or individuals.  Even when one place is relatively peaceful, there is somewhere else where trouble has broken out.  It is important for us to also realize that the peace we may have in our little world is not guaranteed tomorrow.

In John 14 Jesus knew that he and his disciples would be going through some difficult times.  He was preparing them for the inevitable times of turmoil and trial ahead.  We really need to pay attention to what Jesus says here because it is the same thing that will enable us to make it through the difficulties of our day.

Ultimately this passage is about the peace that we can have in Jesus no matter what is going on around us.

The Peace Of Jesus Is Our Inheritance

In verse 27 Jesus says that he is leaving his peace with them.  This picture of him going away but leaving something behind is that of a death and inheritance.  When a person makes a last will and testament, they describe who gets the things that they leave behind.  Hebrews 9 makes use of this metaphor by telling us that it was necessary for Jesus to die in order for his “will” to be carried out.  We are the recipients of the riches of Christ because he has died for us.  Jesus did not die intestate.  That is, he did not die without a will.  Part of that inheritance is his peace.  However in the case of Jesus, he is alive to ensure that his will is correctly carried out.  Now it is important for us as believers to realize that the peace of Jesus is a very real thing.  He has given it to us so that we might not be troubled by this world.  If we don’t have peace then we need to look into the reasons why.  It cannot be that somehow the Holy Spirit is keeping it from us. 

Now the language used of this peace is very personal.  Jesus said “my” peace.  This was the peace that he personally experienced and enjoyed.  It was a peace that was based upon the foundation of the intimate relationship Jesus had with the Father.  Because he has loved us and drawn us into an intimate relationship with himself, we can enjoy the same peace that Jesus had.  The Father loves the Son and the Son loves us.  Therefore the Father also loves us and we should love the Father.  This is the source of our peace.  However, it is also the peace of Jesus because it is the peace that he has created.  When Jesus died for our sins, he made peace between us and the Father whom we have offended with our sins.  Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

It is also true that because we have peace with the Father and thus an emotional peace, so we can be at peace with other believers.  We have nothing to prove because we both are acceptable to the Father.  We can rest in His love and acceptance in Jesus.

Thus our peace is not based upon currently visible circumstances.  In that moment Jesus was being betrayed by Judas and would soon be railroaded in a kangaroo court and unjustly executed.  However, in spite of all this, it would be possible for the disciples to have peace because their acceptance by the Father hasn’t changed.  No matter what the present earthly reality is it cannot change the heavenly reality that God loves you and has adopted you into his family.  If He allows something to happen that is unpleasant then we can trust that he is working it out to a greater good.  Just as Jesus was put to death on a cross and yet great good has come out of it.

The Peace Of Jesus Is Not Of This World

Just as this peace is not based upon the circumstances of this world, so too, it is not given by this world.  No governmental army has obtained it for us and thus no governmental powers can take it away.  O, we can lose our peace, but it is not because of the circumstances.  It is because we have quit trusting and believing.  This world obtains peace through the objects of its desires: wealth, power, fame.  But all of these can be taken away in a heartbeat.  Don’t let fear rob you of your inheritance of peace.  Always remember that the things that make for your peace are not of this world and thus nothing in the world can take it away.

The Peace Of Jesus Should Affect Our Hearts

Jesus uses several terms that speak to how his peace is meant to affect our hearts.  The first word is troubled in verse 27.  Our hearts can be troubled, stirred  up, agitated by the events of this world.  Jesus knows what it is like to be troubled.  In John 13:21 Jesus was troubled as he approached his coming betrayal.  It troubled his heart that he had loved Judas and yet Judas was about to betray him.  Nevertheless, “Thy will be done.”  Jesus had peace because he was secure in his relationship with his father in heaven.  Are you secure in your relationship with Jesus and thus the Father?  Don’t let your heart be agitated and stirred up into turmoil in this area.

The second word is Fear.  Often it is fears that agitate and trouble our heart.  Fear not only steals our courage but it builds a spirit of timidity within us when trouble threatens us.  Jesus does not desire you to be ruled by fear and a troubled heart.  Instead he has far better things in mind.

The third word leaves the negative and moves to the positive, “Joy” (in verse 28).  Jesus points to our relationship with him.  If you love me you would rejoice.  Our joy is directly tied to our love of Jesus, not our accompanying Jesus.  Judas was with Jesus but he had no peace, nor joy.  The other disciples however came to know the peace and joy of Jesus.  When Jesus was resurrected it was meant to assure our hearts that we can be confident in God’s love of us.  This is a cause for great rejoicing.  Each day we can walk in the joy that the same power that resurrected Christ from the dead is working on our behalf as well.  Wow!

The fourth word, in verse 29, is faith.  Jesus told them in advance about his going away and available peace so that when it happened they would believe.  The word “believe” is the verbal form of Faith.  If agitating and troubling things come into your life then realize that God is going to use it to bring a greater joy to you.  Even death itself becomes a toothless enemy when you are loved by the Lord of Life.  Who, by the way, has personally guaranteed that he will resurrect your body in a glorified form.  Jesus said that if he went away then he would surely return so that we can be with him.  These are the things we can believe in because of the resurrection.

Let me close by pointing out four barriers to our peace.  If we are ignorant of what Jesus has done and made available for us then we can miss out on the peace he intends us to have.  However, if we do know but don’t believe then our unbelief will rob us of that peace.  Another barrier is sin. Our own sin robs us of confidence in God’s love and the sin of others often offends us.  Offended people do not like to let go of the offense.  As long as you cling to the offense you will lack peace.  Lastly the deceptive thoughts, ideas, and doctrines of the enemy can delude us and lead us away from the true peace we are meant to have in Jesus.  So be at peace in Jesus it is the inheritance that he has left for YOU!

 

 

Peace in troubled times audio