John 14:26-27. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 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.
In John 14 Jesus introduces us to the greatest of truths for the Christian life – union with Christ by the Spirit of Christ. “You in me, and I in you.” Another Helper, the Spirit, will come and teach us all things about how to live in this deeply troubled world. How? By reminding us of all that Christ said.
And the result is peace.
True, lasting, internal, heart changing peace. To receive Christ’s indwelling life, by the Spirit, is to receive his shalom.
Shalom is much more than just peace as the absence of trouble. It is whole life flourishing. Shalom is the Hebrew “hello” and “goodbye.” Shalom is our beginning and our end. We were created for shalom, and God will bring us home to his shalom forever.
Jesus’ promise of peace is unlike anything the world offers. Jesus isn’t promising an external peace by the changing of the disciples’ immediate circumstance. In fact, over the next few hours their lives are about to get much, much worse. Jesus will be arrested, beaten, and murdered. They will fail miserably as disciples and friends. They will be scattered and left feeling alone and in despair.
And yet Jesus is promising his peace. His shalom. How? Because he is promising something beyond the externals of life, beyond the circumstances, beyond the situation, beyond the stormy seas. He is promising the presence of God himself, in the form of his own life implanted in us by the Spirit. This is far different from the peace that the world gives – a fleeting, temporary, shallow, and self-seeking peace. Jesus’ peace does not ebb and flow with the smiles and frowns of this life.
And here is the great paradox of the peace Christ offers. Jesus is offering them a peace that can only be accomplished in and through the trouble of this night and the tragedy of his cross. No mere sentimental offering of good will by Jesus would bring such shalom. At the end of John 14 Jesus says, “rise, let us go from here.” And off they head into the night. Into the storm. Towards the cross, not away from the cross. True internal peace never comes by avoiding trouble. It only comes as we walk through the trouble, through the fear, through the anxiety, through the desperation, toward the cross.
Why is this? Because peace is the result of faith. Not situations. Not circumstances. Not the absence of trouble. Peace that surpasses all understanding is only possible when we confront what we can’t understand. It’s only possible when the Spirit reminds us of all that Christ said to us.
But what did Jesus say to us?
He said that our peace is a person. Our shalom is our Savior. He said that peace is not a feeling to reach for, but a life to receive. He said that his life given for us is our salvation. Our door. Our shepherd. Our light. Our resurrection. Our way. Our truth. Our life. Peace is found in receiving his indestructible life. A salvation so full and so free, so eternal and so unbreakable, sealed forever in our hearts by the person of the Holy Spirit. God in us.
“To live is Christ” is to live in the heart calming shalom of God. Christ has left his peace with us and it is himself. His personal presence, the Spirit of Christ. A peace experienced as we trust all that Christ has said to us about himself and all that Christ has done for us on the cross. A shalom that we can now share with the world as we rise and walk the way of the cross.
Do you have peace? Or, do you live from a troubled, fearful heart?
You in Christ
Christ’s peace is always at your disposal because his salvation is alive in you. How might your life be different if you fully believed this?
Christ in you
How can you be a peace maker today? How might you bring Christ’s shalom to your corner of the world?
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