By Pastor Emmanuel Akatukunda
Bible Text: John 14:27 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.
Almost on a daily basis, I go through experiences that could make me feel anxious and take away my peace. I believe that I am not alone in this. Is it possible to experience peace in the troubled world that we live in? To begin with, the word peace can mean different things to different people. Take, for instance, peace in a political sense. It presumes that peace is the absence of conflict. It is peace that is most of the times enforced by military force. Some people lose their lives in the course of ensuring that there is peace. So clearly, the peace Jesus talks about does not mean the absence of conflict or trouble but something beyond this. It is not like the peace the world gives.
Jesus did not promise a trouble-free life but rather peace in the midst of a troubled world. In fact, He promised that those who believe in Him will have trouble. John 16:33 says, “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.”
As Christians, we are not shielded from the troubles that everyone else goes through. We hurt, we experience loss and grief, we go through stressful seasons. We feel lonely and rejected. The peace of Jesus Christ is different from that of the world. In John 14:27 Jesus assures is that “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.” The biblical meaning of “peace” is very rich and we cannot exhaust it in this message today. In the Old Testament, the meaning ranges from completeness or wholeness, security, healing, or prosperity. It is life in fulness. Peace is also associated with the presence of God. The priests would bless people that “the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:26). The peace of God is for those who fear God. Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble (Psalms 119:165). And there is no peace for those who do not fear God. There is no peace,” says the LORD, “for the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22). So clearly, the peace that Jesus gives, depends on our relationship with God. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is our Peace.
So then, how can we experience peace in the midst of trouble? It is only when we put our full trust in Jesus Christ that we can experience this kind of peace. To have peace in God means that we have calmness and unshakable confidence in God’s presence and His victory. We know that Jesus loves me unconditionally, He is with me, and that He is in control. We experience this peace when we choose to change our view of life and the circumstances around us.
1. Jesus loves you unconditionally
Many times, we are anxious because we are not sure that we are of any worth before God. We think that God loves us when we have our act together. But when we mess up, God stops loving us. It is as if Jesus’ love for us is predicated on our performance. But Jesus love for us is unconditional. He is able to bind our broken pieces and make us whole again. After Jesus rose from the dead he appeared to His disciples on several occasions and locations. Each time he met them He pronounced His peace on them. In John 20:26-27, we read that “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” I believe that this was more than a mere greeting. He was reassuring them of the peace that comes because of His unconditional love for them. The disciples could have deserted Him when He needed them most, but He still loved them. They could have been anxious and devastated by a sense of betrayal, but He still cared about them. They might have been gripped by fear of what the future held for them, but Jesus pronounced His peace over them. When we know that Jesus loves us unconditionally, we will trust him to bind our broken pieces and make us whole again.
2. You are not alone
You are not alone because the Holy Spirit lives in you. He is the one who applies the peace of Jesus into our hearts. John 14:25-27 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, 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. 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.
The Holy Spirit is an “advocate”—a friend who never abandons us. The Holy Spirit perpetuates the presence of Jesus Christ in the life of the believer. He is our advocate; the one who pleads our case before the Father. He is the One who stoops so low in order to come to our level and lift us up. He is not afraid of our mess. But we must allow Him to help us.
The storm might be fierce and life-threatening but we know that Jesus has promised that He will be with us in the midst of the storm. Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?””
3. God is in Control
Since we know that God is ultimately in control; that He is in charge of our destiny, we will not fear regardless of what we go through. Fear and anxiety about the present and the future rob us of the peace that Jesus gives us. We may not know exactly how things will turn out to be. We may not be able to manage the situation we are going through on our own. Sometimes God will allow you to go through stuff you cannot handle on your own. But there is one thing we know. God can handle whatever situation that He allows to come your way. God is in control. He holds the future.
Once in a while when I find a good movie, I watch it more than once. Sometimes I find that the second time of watching can even be more exciting than the first one. But there is also something about watching a movie for more than once; you know how it will end. You will still be gripped by the tensions but you know the end. This is also true for all of us who have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. We know how all this will end. If we take Jesus’ words in John 16:33 seriously, then we have no reason to fear. “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.” Will some experiences still be painful? Yes. Will we go through moments of stress? Yes. What I mean to say is that the troubles and pain that we go through are real. The peace that Jesus gives us does not mean that we live in denial of the experiences we go through—but we believe that God will give us victory over those troubles. That is why the Word of God tells us to pray whenever we feel anxious. Someone said that you need to turn your worries into prayers. Whenever you are worried, pray
The peace of God guards our hearts and minds in Christ. It is an antidote for anxiety and fear. May God feel you with the peace of Jesus Christ, especially in these troubled times.