June 17, 2018
READ: John 14:23-31
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (v.27).
In the middle of the twentieth century, Japan and America were embroiled in a bitter war which only came to an end with the detonation of two nuclear bombs. Yet in the decades that followed, these two countries worked hard to forge peace not only through the ceasing of hostility, but through military and economic cooperation and cultural exchange. Today, the two former enemies are close allies.
When we think about the idea of peace, we often think only about the ceasing of conflict or struggle, as in the end of a war. And in this way, our understanding of peace is largely circumstantial—we think we have peace when our situation is no longer difficult or stressful. But Jesus tells us that the peace He leaves is not the same as the world offers: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (v.27).
How do the world’s peace and Jesus’ peace differ? At least one difference is that experiencing Christ’s peace doesn’t depend on our circumstances, but a relationship. The peace of Jesus comes through the Father sending us His Son and Spirit (vv.23,26). Through Christ’s Spirit, our Counsellor and Teacher, we experience His peace in us (v.26). This peace doesn’t depend on perfect circumstances, but a perfect and personal triune God—who in Christ has won the victory over Satan and is returning again to restore all things (vv.28,30).
Jesus cautioned us that we’re certain to face troubling circumstances in our lives (John 16:33). But our peace doesn’t come from avoiding the valleys, but in experiencing even in those moments the presence of God with us. (Psalm 23:4).
365-day plan: John 1:35-51
Read Isaiah 54:10 and reflect on why we can find peace in God’s faithfulness even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Is your concept of peace based more on your circumstances or on the character of God? How can we seek a deeper experience of His peace?