1997-09-11 - Not as the World Gives
The Cross Series, Part 8
John 14:27-31 "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 "You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 "And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it comes to pass, you may believe. 30 "I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 31 but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go from here.
Jesus has spoken some troubling words to his closest friends. Their worlds have been rattled to the foundations and it is not over yet. The warning shots have barely been fired. Even as the Lord struggles with His own emotions and fears in His humanity, He continues to comfort these eleven scared and confused men.
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you …" Not just any peace, Jesus' peace. There is a peace the world proffers to us. The different world governing bodies, as they continue to form, offer us freedom from conflict. There are plans for the redistribution of wealth to eliminate poverty and hunger. While I would love to see this, I would not like to see it at the enforced expense to my own family. A Robin Hood kind of deal, but they think it is a good idea. The philosophers of this age tells us that we are all becoming Gods. There is no right or wrong, we are evolving and emerging. So everything is just a learning processes. If it feels good, do it. But what is this freedom that is being gift wrapped even now? It is the same wretched lie that was used in the Garden of Eden and the Tower of Babel millennia ago. "You don't need God. We can do it ourselves." Only the gift wrap is new. It is still a temporary deception that ends in death.
There will be a peace on Earth, but it will only come after the Prince of Peace sets foot again on the Mount of Olives. Only after the people of this world will literally, futilely attempt armed confrontation with the Creator of all things. Even that will only last until the Enemy is released for the final time. Then finally, after this fallen angel is consigned to eternal separation from God, there will be final, equitable peace.
But this is peace is still future. The peace Jesus offers is a sweet foretaste of that time. It is a mind and heart settled and secure in that Jesus has paid our ransom in His own blood. And that He is indeed preparing the place He promised for us. It flows from the total acceptance of our redeemed selves, in Christ, right where we are by the Master. Knowing that we can do nothing to improve our fallen selves; it is all His work in our lives. This peace is powered by the unspeakable joy that explodes from a soul that nothing and no one can take us out of His mighty hand. And we will never fear death again. Not that we rush toward it. But it is not the gapping maw of destruction it once was. It is now a doorway to eternity, and paradise. In this, as Jesus said, whose heart could be troubled or fearful?
Jesus states once again, that He is going away. If the disciples could see the necessity, if they could grab hold of the idea of the resurrection with faith, they may have indeed rejoiced. Their inability to see this is why Jesus words have been troubling. Jesus had shown his power over death at least three staggering times. They could simply could not make the leap from raising someone else from the dead, to Jesus raising Himself. They had acknowledged His deity, but this kind of power was beyond comprehension. Once they would see the risen Christ, they would know joy that the world had not yet known.
The enemies battle plan was unfolding. But the Godhead had been orchestrating events since eternity past to culminate at this point. In the fullness of time, when the time was right, the Father sent the Son to redeem fallen mankind. The Son, in the realm of salvation, obediently following the Father. Again, one day soon, the Father will send the Son. As the cup of the wrath of the Father nears the rim, Jesus will return to retrieve His Bride, the church. In Jesus' obedience to the Father, the plans of enemy are crushed. The enemies gates of government crumble to the ground.
The choice is clear. And that decision counts for all eternity. Will you settle for the peace this fallen world offers? It looks good now, but it is a think veneer; a shinning plastic shell over a rotting, squalid potion. And even that cup will run dry. Or will you pass up this fast talking sales pitch, and maybe give up a few short term goodies? What is waiting for those will will look is so amazing that the roads are paved with gold. The valuables and gems in this offer are eternal relationships with a God who loves you enough to die in your place, and all those who follow Him. These can be freely shared without ever running out. They merely increase in value as eternity continues.
Lord Jesus, Your peace is worth waiting for. Help us to show that peace more often, and not let the trials and clutter of this world hide it from those who need to see it. Help us to tap directly into the settled, eternal peace You have poured into us, and renew daily. So that it will be something so tempting, that the world will not be able to hold a candle to it. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.