Pastor David's Thought for the Weekby Pastor David Alexander
Regardless of life’s circumstances, peace seems elusive for so many of us.
I often wonder if the reason is that we simply don’t know how to find peace or understand how peace finds us.
On many occasions, I have found comfort reading again chapters 14-16 in the Gospel of John. What we find there is almost a book end to the teaching Jesus shared in Matthew chapters 5-7.
Instead of the setting in Matthew of large crowds gathered on the shoreline on the Sea of Galilee, in John’s Gospel, Jesus is huddled with a small group of men in a darkened room in Jerusalem.
The teaching in Matthew’s Gospel is near the beginning of his public ministry, and although Jesus was the only one who knew, the words Jesus shared that night in Jerusalem were mere hours away from the end.
All three of those chapters are worth reading again, but I want to highlight the final words Jesus shares here.
He says in John 16:33,
“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.”
Let me share three simple observations of how I believe these words from Jesus direct us to find peace in a chaotic world.
- Despite the coming chaos, Jesus wanted his disciples to have peace.
Later that same night, armed men would come to arrest Jesus and before the end of that next day, Jesus would be hanging on a cross. Days of immense grief and fear would follow for the men who first heard the words we find in John’s Gospel.
In verse 33, Jesus ends by making sure they understand why, “I have told you these things.” Jesus wanted them to, “have peace.”
- Jesus rejects our common assumption that peace means the absence of trouble.
We think about peace as the absence of something, but Jesus describes it as the presence of someone.
This is why Jesus can speak about the reality of trouble immediately after finding peace. The promise of faith is that the power of Christ within you is greater than any challenge or threat that may surround you.
- Peace is the gift Jesus offers, but it can only be found in him.
Instead of seeing peace as a change in an external circumstance, peace is a choice we make to live in Christ. At the beginning of John 15, Jesus says,
“If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Jesus begins his ministry by speaking blessing over those whose lives were filled with trouble (Matthew 5:1-12). In these final words in John 16:33, we gain a deeper appreciation of what blessing really means - how we find it and how it finds us.
Whatever life looks like for you today, I pray that you will find peace.
I pray that you would take comfort and find confidence in the reminder that finding peace truly is as simple as making a choice again today to “remain in him.”