Summary: Every day, multiple times a day I need this message. I need this peace of mind. I need this gift of the Holy Spirit.
It's been a difficult week for Kristi and I. Dealing with cancer treatments is very much like riding a roller coaster. We take it one day at a time, some days are great, some days are difficult. High's and lows. When Jared is recovering from chemo and his blood counts drop, the days become difficult. This has been our week.
I read this on Monday, "John 14:27 - “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid." Jesus rocks my world.
Earlier in the week Jesus was welcomed by a mob strung out along the main street of Jerusalem yelling and demonstrating for their new political leader. Thousands thronged around him and his small band of followers crushing each other to get a close view of the one who would finally deliver Jerusalem and the Temple mount back to Jewish control. The were singing and praising God for this new Messiah.
That was a few days ago. Tonight, Jesus is sitting in a room celebrating the Jewish ceremony of Passover with his intimate friends and followers. The week had been chaotic. First Jesus had raised a dead guy from the grave, then the next day on the way to Jerusalem and throughout the city there was an out of control mob slapping palm branches and chanting and singing about the next Messiah, then Jesus tells his disciples he's going to die soon, and they were still worried about that. Every morning Jesus had been teaching in the Temple and one day he went crazy town and turned over tables and took a whip to those selling sacrificial animals. It had been a week like no other and there is no doubt these followers are tired. Exhausted. And troubled.
You've probably never had a week like that. I know I haven't. Not exactly like that. But I know what it means to be troubled. I know what it means to have a hard day or a difficult week. I know what it's like to hear bad news. Troubling news. About death. In that way I can relate to these guys on this Passover evening. I know what it's like to be physically and mentally exhausted. Do you? Do you know what it's like to hear that someone you love is close to death? Have you experienced the exhaustive mental pain of trying to manage life and at the same time grieve beyond your ability to cope? I know what that feels like. Do you?
When I listen to these words of Jesus I am comforted. When I believe and trust the power of God I experience peace of mind. Let's hear Jesus talk to his drained disciples.
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me."
Jesus is the author of my faith. He is the one who arranged the relationship I have with God. Trust, then, is a genuine effort on my part to willingly agree to live in this arrangement. I trust that God’s arrangement for my life is the best thing for me. The way he wants me to conduct my life, my attitude, my relationships, my marriage, my job, everything in my life is lived out under the authority of Jesus Christ. My choice to trust God eliminates trouble from my heart. Peace of mind is the result of living with Jesus.
Mobs are fickle. The same crowd that a few days ago adored Jesus is now turning against him. He's not acting the way they want him to. Jesus knows that when he's arrested and standing before Pilate the mob will turn against him. No Messiah they want would allow himself to be arrested by the enemy. They will believe Jesus to be a fraud. They'll be disappointed, disenfranchised and angry that he let them down. They'll shout again but instead of praises, they'll be calling for his execution. Jesus knows all of this. He continues to rock my world.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid."
Let's talk for just a moment about what kind of gift peace of mind is. Many people who say they are believers think that everyone is going to heaven. That Jesus is going to save everyone. In the preface of his book "Love Wins" Rob Bell says, "I’ve written this book for all those, everywhere, who have heard some version of the Jesus story that caused their pulse rate to rise, their stomach to churn, and their heart to utter those resolute words, “I would never be part of that. You are not alone. There are millions of us.”