The peace of Jesus! – John 14:27-31
By Pastor Lee Hemen
October 11, 2015
From the harassed parent to national concerns people have wanted “peace in our time”. Some have declared it only to be later disappointed by those who thwarted the peace process and who wanted war, disruption, or not sharing their favorite toy. World peace is more than green veggies whirling around inside of a blender and it is difficult to make happen. The reason is obvious to those of us who actually read the Bible; humans are sinners by nature and by choice. We will not enjoy real peace until we know the Prince of Peace Jesus.
Here in John’s gospel we discover Jesus teaching his disciples some final thoughts before his illegal trial, horrendous death, lonely burial, and glorious resurrection. He has taught them that after he heads back to his Father he would send them the Holy Spirit to live in them forever. When this occurred, they would experience a peace they had never known before, the peace of Jesus! Let’s discover what this means for us today…
Peace can mean a lot of things for a lot of folks: Peace and quiet, peace like a river, a peaceful easy feeling, give peace a chance or some other meaning. However, here in John’s gospel we begin to learn what the peace of Jesus truly means for our lives. We discover Jesus teaching his disciples about this peace and he teaches them that because of this…
I. Jesus gives us his peace! (v. 27)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
1. Jesus had just gotten through telling his disciples that he would send them a “Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” And so he continued by promising them that this gift would also bring about a peace in life they had not experienced before. We have to remember that Jesus lived during a time when the Hebrew people were under the boot of the Roman government. They had not known a time of physical peace for centuries. They wanted physical peace so much that during Jesus’ day the way the Jews would greet one another was by saying, “Shalom.” It means “peace.” Just as we face wars and rumors of wars, strife, poverty, and diseases, they faced all these things as well. However, the gift of the Holy Spirit would bring about a difference. Jesus promised, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” The presence of the Holy Spirit, contrary to what some heretically think, is not simply a means to do extraordinary supernatural things. First and foremost it brings about the comfort of knowing God intimately and the peace of mind of understanding that no matter what the outside circumstances are, your life is eternal. The writer of Hebrews reminds us that, “Since the children (us) have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil–and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15 NIV) It is a peace the world does not understand and that it cannot give the individual. Yet, because of this inner spiritual peace, we do not have to live concerned lives. Jesus succinctly states, “Do not let your hearts be troubled (agitated) and do not be afraid.” Jesus gives us his peace!
EXAMPLE: My brother and I used to battle one another all day long, all summer long. My mother would lament, “All I want is a little peace!” When she did, we knew we had better make a peace pact. Often it would last for a few weeks, days or hours, but we at least made the attempt. I remember that I had become so engrossed in building a railroad and my brother was reading comics that the house had become eerily quiet so my mother came looking for the cause, thinking we had perhaps finally either knocked one another senseless or we had died. When she found us in our room quiet, she declared, “What in the world are you boys up to!” She just knew it wasn’t in our little boy natures to be at peace for such a long time. The same is true with our world. How wonderful to realize that Jesus gives us his peace!
If Jesus had simply died on the cross but had never been resurrected, he would have been seen simply as another fine teacher and few would have placed their faith or trust in him. This is why Paul would write, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:19-20 NIV) This is why we learn…
II. Jesus’ coming again gives us peace! (Vv. 28-29)
You heard me say, “I am going away and I am coming back to you.” If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.
1. In order for the Holy Spirit to come, Jesus had to finish why he had come. He was not going to leave them as “orphans.” Jesus tells them, “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.'” And he knew this would concern and perhaps perplex them, so he promised them he would be back! The Bible Knowledge Commentary states that “If the disciples had been more mature in their love for Jesus, they would have been glad for His departure. But their love was still selfish at this point.” Jesus had humbled himself by coming to earth and then by dying on the cross for our sins, but by going back to the Father he would be exalted in glory! Loving Jesus is shown first and foremost by our willingness to sacrifice ourselves by giving him our lives! The disciples should be glad he was leaving them; it meant he was fulfilling the will of God. Jehovah’s Witnesses argue from Jesus’ statement, “The Father is greater than I”, that Jesus is a lesser god or that he is not God. But this would make Jesus a created being instead of the Creator and could lead to polytheism, which is clearly unbiblical. It clearly makes no sense whatsoever especially after Jesus bluntly stated that he and the Father were one, to see him was to see the Father, and that he was God! What Jesus meant was in his humbled state of being a man, God the Father was at that time “greater” in his glory because Jesus had not yet returned back to heaven. Jesus did not want them to be unaware or shocked about what would shortly occur. There was a Godly purpose and a plan. So he continues by relating, “I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.” Therefore, Jesus’ coming again gives us peace!
EXAMPLE: Some folks like pithy quotes or concise sayings that instill some sort of emotional fuzzy feeling. I am always kind of suspicious of such things. It is too much of an easy way out of a deeper understanding of reality. Therefore, Jesus is not some wonderful guy who taught great things so we could “all just get along” or “walk a mile in his shoes”. His death, burial, and resurrection ushered in a whole new way of life and the promise of eternal life. Because he lives we too will live! And, he is coming back to take us to the place he prepared for us! Jesus’ coming again, gives us peace!
The evil of this world is sometimes hard to figure out. Some blame society, some blame poverty, some blame lack of parenting or other things. Yet we know that no one has to teach little children to be disobedient, disrespectful, or downright ornery — we choose to be so! And we cannot blame every bad thing on Satan; however, it is good to know John related that…
III. Jesus’ peace conquers Satan! (Vv. 30-31)
I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. Come now; let us leave.
1. Jesus’ death would throw the disciples into a funk to say the least. They would scatter, run away, and hide in the upper room where they were now celebrating their last Passover together. For over three years they had traveled with one another, laughed with one another, and ate with one another. They had been close and connected and now Jesus would be ripped from their lives in a horrendous set of circumstances. It would stretch their faith. It would cause some of them to question what they would do now with their lives and where they were to go. They would feel like the forces of darkness were conspiring against them and they would be correct. Jesus would remind them in a bit, “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 16:33 NIV) Jesus knew they would be frightened, confused, and in shock so he tells them, “I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming.” Satan, the Prince of this world, may think he has his way now, but shortly his scheme of betrayal and death would be thwarted. Satan was coming to do his preordained part, but it would be short lived and end in ultimate victory. They, the disciples, had to realize that Satan, while seeming to have won a battle here and now, did not win the eternal war. Jesus bluntly states, “He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” This is something that believers can fail to realize as well. Satan has no power in the life of a Christian — when the Holy Spirit enters in, the Devil exits. Jesus’ peace conquers Satan!
EXAMPLE: When we experience things like the shooting at Umpqua Community College there are those who wonder where God was and how he could allow such evil to exist. While trite answers of compassion may not always hack it in the cold light of reality, we can find peace. Evil has not won because of one incident, whether a horrendous shooting or a crucifixion. Evil exists because sin exists. To give Satan credit for all the evil in the world is to believe a myopic view of spiritual reality. This is why Paul would write, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39 NIV) How comforting to learn then that Jesus’ peace conquers Satan!
Each of those believers at UCC who willingly stood for their faith and faced eternity knew what we are teaching here today: Jesus gives us his peace! Jesus’ coming again gives us peace! Jesus’ peace conquers Satan! Do you know this peace for yourself?
This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.