The disciples were about to experience the fine print of what it meant to follow Christ. It would not be pretty. Ten of the remaining eleven would die a martyr’s death. Yet, by all accounts, they each met their fate with a serenity that belied the barbaric means of that day. Was it courage that helped them measure up to the moment? Sure. But it was way more than courage. Beneath that was a calmness of spirit, a conquest of that conflict within which robs life of so much pleasure. The disciples were the happy recipients of this promise: “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.” ~John 14:27
The word for peace is, εἰρήνη (ā-rā’-nā). While it can refer to peace between nations, that is not what Jesus is promising. He is not talking about the absence of external conflict, he is talking about the abolition of internal conflict. We overcome the unseen war that rages within. No matter the chaos that surrounds us – at work, with relationships, with politics, with our finances – this peace can remain steady. No matter the chaos that threatens our minds and souls – guilt, shame, fear, regret – this peace can remain and still those internal voices.
This is the peace that everyone is after but very few find and very few exploit. And, it is meant to be found and exploited. Peace comes as a revelation. It is rooted in truth. We found yesterday that we’ve been adopted as beloved children. This adoption places us, in some respects, on equal footing with the Son. The Scriptures say that we are “co-heirs with Christ.” To grasp that we are sons and daughters of God, that we’ve been accepted into the family, is part of our journey toward experiencing peace. We’ve nothing to prove to God or to hide from God. He accepts us as we accept him. But its not quite enough to accept him, we must learn to accept his acceptance of us. That completes the circuit. We’ve left off trying to impress God. We’ve finished with trying to hide from God. The gloriously curious thing about the gospel is that the only people who make it to heaven are failures and sinners. They are the only ones Jesus died for. If we admit to both the disease and the cure, peace is ours – just like that. It is always within reach.
The Apostle Paul, who had a series of very bad days, of excessive external conflict and persecution, would tell us this: And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:7
We’ve more to say on this tomorrow…