The fear of not meeting a deadline, the worry of not making the varsity roster, the thought of a sick loved one, the fight you’re having with a close friend…what steals your peace?
A lot of the circumstances we go through during the day can possibly become “peace stealers.” In fact, for most of us, it only takes one bad thing to make our worlds crumble; leaving us shaking our heads, and crying out to God with, “Why???”
This reminds me of the story in Mark 4. I could already imagine the scene. Jesus invited his disciples to go to the other side of the sea, and they travelled there by boat. Suddenly, a giant storm comes out of nowhere and they are caught in the middle of it. The disciples fall to despair, and turn to Jesus to find him… asleep on a cushion at the far end of the boat. They immediately wake him up with the words, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
I can’t help but think that sometimes we are like those disciples on the boat. When our lives run smooth, there we are celebrating with Jesus and all that he does for us. But once the storms come, all we can see are the problems piling up, the deadlines fast approaching, and we think as if Jesus has literally fallen asleep on us.
Prince of Peace
One of Jesus’ titles is the Prince of Peace. And in this story, he shows us that he is the ultimate picture of peace–sound asleep, trusting in the Father’s plans, amidst all that was happening around him. What exactly is Jesus’ peace? What does it look like?
Jesus describes a portion of what it is in John 14. At this point, Judas had already left the group, and is about to betray Jesus. So we find Jesus presenting his last few instructions to his disciples. You know that dramatic scene in the movies where someone is about to go away, and they start leaving behind things they want their loved ones to remember them by? This was the same thing that was taking place.
I always knew this chapter to be the one where Jesus leaves behind His Holy Spirit to be their Helper. The Spirit, according to Jesus, will guide them in the truth (John 14: 26). But as I read on, this chapter took on a whole new light to me. Because it said in the succeeding verse, that Jesus also left another thing behind for them: His peace. If you read on, he was specific in his description of it:
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
Jesus knew that he was about to die in the most gruesome and inhumane way possible–to be stripped off his clothes, whipped to the bone, crowned with thorns, and forced to carry the weight of the cross. Yet these were one of his last words to his disciples.
This is Jesus’ peace. It’s a peace the world cannot understand, and give to us. It’s a peace that transcends all past hurts, present circumstances, and future anxieties. No amount of knowledge or practice or discipline or formula can give us this peace. This peace comes from and is found only in Jesus (Philippians 4: 7)… and he gives it to us freely while we are still in this world.
I know what you’re thinking: it’s too good to be true right?
This promise may be even more unimaginable when we think of our own “peace stealers” in the context of discipleship. When someone you’ve invested so much time and effort in discipling is suddenly unreachable, when a long time member of the church suddenly falls back to his or her old life, when you find yourself dealing with past issues you thought you’ve already overcome.
When all this is happening, where is our assurance of this kind of peace? The answer can be found in John 16, when Jesus says:
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (33)
Jesus already experienced the sort of tribulation we’d face on earth, and because of that, he knows that what we need is His peace. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross became our assurance of peace, because it was where he died for our past, present, and future tribulations.
While the disciples’ reaction in the midst of a storm was nothing out of the ordinary, they have forgotten that the most powerful and important person in the universe was already in the boat with them. All they needed to do was to ask for His peace.
This is true for each and everyone of Jesus’ disciples. There are some events that we can’t control in life; but we can be rest assured that we have a God who is in control, and He gives us His peace.
While the Holy Spirit points to how we can fulfill God’s call in our lives and make disciples, Jesus’ peace answers why we can succeed. Because no matter how many people have rejected us, or how dark our circumstance may seem, we can always find Jesus’ peace if we draw near to him.
*Author’s note: this article was originally published on www.docampusministry.com