My heart is so broken over the recent mass shootings in Gilroy, Dayton, El Paso and Chicago.
Senseless violence spurred by hate.
I’m equally broken over Syria, the opioid epidemic and human trafficking.
It seems the world is spiraling downward into chaotic violence and unbridled hatred.
Peace feels like a distant hope, a faint whisper, a ridiculous aspiration of those who aren’t willing to see things as they are.
Our generation is not the first to feel this way.
The disciples were definitely not feeling peaceful as Jesus revealed that He was going away. They were afraid and confused. They could not imagine how the life they had come to know with the Rabbi they had come to love could continue without Him.
Jesus didn’t dismiss their fears. Instead He spoke words of comfort:
“I have told you these things while I am still with you. 26 But the [a]Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you.27 Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] ~ Jesus, to His disciplesJohn 14: 25-27 AMP
There’s all kinds of good news in this passage!
Jesus promised that although He wouldn’t be with them, He wasn’t leaving them alone.
The Holy Spirit was coming to comfort, counsel, strengthen and help them.
I love this rendering of these verses precisely because it teases out the various roles of the third Person of the Godhead. (If you want to be encouraged, look up all these words used to describe Him.)
Jesus assured them (and us) that they didn’t have understand everything right now. The Spirit was going to be there to remind them.
And then He promises peace.
But not just any peace-the perfect peace of God that passes all understanding.
The peace that transcends circumstances because it is based on the settled assurance that God is in control, that every promise He made is sure and that I am neither forgotten nor forsaken.
Fear reigns in the hearts of many-even those who believe in Jesus.
And if I trust in the government, or the police, or myself to keep me safe, I have every reason to be fearful.
But when I rest completely in Jehovah-Shalom, the LORD Who is Himself my Peace, I can be assured that I am safe.
Not safe from all harm, but safe in His love and care.
- What do you think about the Holy Spirit? Have you ever considered the many ways He ministers to believers? Why or why not?
- Just a little while after Jesus spoke the words we’re considering today, He said ,”Nevertheless, I am telling you the truth. It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send Him to you. ” (John 16:7) Does this shock you? Why or why not?
- Sometimes people complain that it’s hard to understand Scripture. I usually reply with two suggestions: (1) get an easy to understand translation (not paraphrase) and; (2) ask the Holy Spirit to guide your heart and mind into truth. How do you approach Scripture study? Will today’s exploration change your approach?
- Write your own definition of peace. Do you think peace is possible in the world or only possible in Heaven?
- When have you felt a supernatural peace calm your soul?
- How can we share the peace of Christ with others?
Lord, You are Three in One. Too often I think about and am grateful for the Father and Son but neglect the Holy Spirit. And yet He is the One Who helps me in my weakness, Who prays for me when groans are all I can muster and Who leads me into all truth.
Thank You for not leaving me alone. Thank You for sending the Comforter.
Help me listen better to what He has to say to me. Help me lean into the truth He leads me into. Let that truth guide my heart to Your peace.