If you have seen a number of “Wishing You Peace” yard signs around town lately, you may be clued in to the theme of the new sermon series we began this Sunday morning. (And if you would like one of those signs for your front lawn, you are welcome to grab one at church this week. Just be sure not to put it in the Parkway or the Village will gobble it up!)
The signs represent the desire we have for all people to come to know the true peace available to followers of Jesus Christ. As we saw in the sermon on Sunday (which you can listen to here) when we studied John 14:26-27, Jesus tells us two very important things about the kind of peace he gives us. Jesus teaches that he is the giver of peace, and that the peace he gives us is very different from the kind of peace that the world is able to give.
The peace that comes from the world, essentially says, “Find peace by not thinking too hard about this stuff. Just let it go. Get away from it. Ignore it and carve out peace by not thinking about your troubles.” But the sort of peace Jesus offers is different. The sort of peace Jesus offers is not escapism.
Christian peace doesn’t come from avoiding the truth, Christian peace comes from a greater grasp of the truth. The Peace of Christ doesn’t come from seeing less of reality, it comes from seeing more of reality. Christian peace arises from an understanding that there is a bigger truth than whatever trial, suffering, pressure, grief or sadness we are dealing with.
The peace that Jesus gives comes from a knowledge that whatever it is that is keeping us up at night is subject to God’s control. Whatever it is that we are battling, has been overcome ultimately by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And if God has come to earth in the person of Christ and overcome the powers of sin, death, and evil, what is there left to fear?
Are you a Christian? Then you are adopted and accepted by God. Do you have faith in Jesus Christ? Then you are called a child of God and you are loved by a God who has defeated the powers of sin and death. And, if you are a Christian, then you know there is nothing in life and nothing in death that can separate you from that love. You know what your future is, that Jesus has promised that you will be with him in eternity. If you have faith in the resurrected Christ, then you can have a peace that comes from seeing more of reality, not less.
Are you in a place where you are carving out time to think more about the things that Jesus teaches? Are you aware, during the day, of the reality that God is with you in the midst of the storms? Are you working to memorize passages of scripture so that Jesus’ promises and teachings are hardwired into your mind?
Jesus wants to give you his peace. He wants you to have it. He loves you. He knows the things that are stealing peace from your life right now. He doesn’t want you to be afraid.
I am grateful to be learning alongside you to receive this amazing gift by focusing on the truth of Christmas.