Peace


John 14:25-31

Many things trouble us.

How about that Corona Virus?

Will I be able to pay the bills this month?

Will I have enough set aside by the time I reach retirement?

I wonder if this bump under my skin is something to worry about?

Will I pass the history exam tomorrow?

Will I get enough scholarships and financial aid to pay for college?

Will I be able to pay off my student loans?

Will I lose my job in this economy?

Will my basement flood in the rains this spring?

The worry list is endless and the list is as varied as we are as individuals. What I worry about may not worry you at all, and I may not have any clue as to what worries you. But, one thing we have in common, we live in a world full of trouble.

The Apostles were not strangers to trouble. Jesus spent His last night, the night that He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, with His closest disciples. We call this time the Last Supper, and at this time Jesus told His disciples some important stuff. Some of it was scary.

Peter was told He would deny Jesus three times.

Jesus told all of them:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." (John 13:21 ESV)

And...
Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, 'Where I am going you cannot come.' (John 13:33 ESV)

After telling them a few upsetting things like this, Jesus said:
Let not your hearts be troubled. (John 14:1 ESV)

Boy, talk about troubled hearts!

I find the Greek word Jesus used for “troubled” fascinating. It is the word “ταρασσέσθω” (tarassestho). This word is defined as follows:  to put in motion (to agitate back-and-forth, shake to-and-fro).

I get quite a picture from that word agitate. I think of stirring the pot, or shaking things up. This was their hearts, all shaken and stirred up!

This is our hearts when we are “troubled” about many things.

Good news follows bad news. The bad news is that we tend to be troubled by many things. The good news is given by Jesus. While talking to His disciples about these things, He said:
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 14:27 ESV)

Saying “calm down” or “don’t let your hearts be troubled” is easy. But, if these words are not accompanied by something to replace or calm the trouble, they are of no value. They do nothing for us. But, when Jesus says “Don’t let your hearts be troubled,” He gives us further instructions, like, “Trust in God, trust also in Me.” Here in John 14:27, He says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” Now, here is something useful, He gives peace. He gave it to the disciples and He gives it to us. He has not taken it away, because He does not give as the world gives.

First, let’s look at what “peace” is. The dictionary, or Google, defines peace as: “freedom from disturbance; tranquility.”

“Freedom from disturbance: tranquility” just sounds good. I get a picture like this in my head: 


Sitting in a meadow or beautiful, quiet place without any worries or pressures seems to be the very thing peace is talking about. Psalms 23 says:
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. (Psalms 23:2 ESV)

This is meant to be a peaceful image. The last thing a shepherd wants is for his sheep to be agitated. They aren’t dangerous like stampeding cattle, but they will definitely hurt themselves.

Jesus talks about two things that are not peaceful. He says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” Troubled means agitated and this is the opposite of peace. Agitation refers to the worries and concerns of life. But, Jesus talks about one more thing that is the opposite of peace. John 14:27 says:
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27 ESV)

“Neither let them be afraid,” fear is the second thing that is the antithesis of peace.

According to 1 John 4:17-18, fear is related to judgment and punishment. 1 John 4:17-18 says:
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:17-18 ESV)

The frightening thing about judgment is the punishment that comes after. If the judge does not pass sentence then there is nothing to fear. In telling us that perfect love casts out fear, John explains to us the source of fear. Fear and dread come upon us because of the certainty of judgment. The Bible tells us, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) God has made us with a conscience and part of that conscience is an innate or inborn certainty that we will be judged. This inborn certainty is what Paul is referring to in Romans 2:15 when he says:
They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them (Romans 2:15 ESV)

Ultimately, fear is related to the ending of life. Fear of monsters, fear of the dark, fear of heights are all tied to the fear of death. The fear of death is not so much the fear of the unknown, but fear of the certainty of judgment, although many of the unbelieving would deny this.

The agitation of worry and the fear of judgment rule the lives of the unbelieving. But Jesus has given us His peace. We can live in the tranquility of the green pastures and still waters that He leads us in.

John 14 points out the way to enjoy this refreshing of our spirits.

First, in answer to the agitation of worries, Jesus says, “Believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1) It seems overly simple, but all of our worry and all of our anxiety comes back to this issue of trust. When Jesus addressed the worries of life in His Sermon on the Mount, He tells us not to worry because our Heavenly Father knows what we need. Consider what Philippians 4:6-7 tells us:
...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

Do you see how the peace of God is linked to trusting God?

When Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled,” His solution was “trust in God and trust also in me.”

The second issue covered by Jesus that keeps us from enjoying peace is fear. 1 John 4:18 already told us that the answer to this is love, but let’s consider this a little more. 

I want to point out something intriguing in Jesus’ words to His disciples. He says:
And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. (John 14:29-31 ESV)

Notice that Jesus says that the ruler of this world has no claim on Him. The ruler of this world is also known as Satan, or the accuser. In Zechariah, he is seen accusing the high priest (Zechariah 3:1). Satan had nothing He could accuse Jesus of. Jesus was the sinless, spotless lamb of God. This was simply because as Jesus says in John 14, “I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.”  Jesus does what the Father tells Him because He loves the Father. Because He does what the Father tells Him, He has nothing to fear.

Earlier in John 14 Jesus tells His disciples:
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.” (John 14:23-24 ESV)

In verse 15 of this same chapter, Jesus also says, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

If we were perfect in love, we would have nothing to fear in the judgment. However, since none of us is perfect in love, how can we have nothing to fear in the judgment? How is it that Jesus has given us His peace?

1 John 1:7-9 answers this question.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7-9 ESV)

“The blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Because Satan had nothing on Jesus, He has nothing on you and me if we have called upon Jesus to save us.

Two of the burdens the world puts on us are worry and fear. Jesus promised that if we come to Him, He will give us rest. 

Why do we continue to live in worry and fear?

Come to Jesus and experience times of refreshing!

He is the answer.

Trust Him because He cares for you and knows all your needs.

Trust Him because if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We have nothing to fear. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

This is the promise of God concerning peace:

...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV)

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