Summary: Jesus’ peace is unique - much different and much better than the world’s peace.
John 14:23-27: “MY PEACE I GIVE TO YOU”
There are things in this world that we are good at. And, there are things in the world that we are not good at. Sometimes, we think we’re good at something, but really, we’re not. I remember when I used to think that I was good at raising plants. I was in college, and I wanted my dorm room to have a jungle theme, and so I hung plants everywhere. It looked very jungle-like in there, like the Rain Forest Café. But that only lasted for a couple weeks. Soon, all the plants I had bought were dead, and, for the rest of the year, empty flower pots hung around the room, as reminders to me that I’m not as good at keeping plants alive as I had thought. I now defer that responsibility to my wife. The other day I asked her if we could plant some fake plants around our yard, but that idea was rejected.
Did you know that there is something that the world thinks that it’s good at, but it’s not? Do you know what that is? It’s peace. The world thinks it’s good at making peace, keeping peace, but it’s not. That’s really obvious if you watch the news. It’s also obvious if you study history. I read an interesting article the other day that said that of the 3600 years of recorded history in our world, there have been only 286 years of peace. That’s pretty bad. During those 3600 years of recorded history, roughly 8000 peace treaties have been made, and all of them have been broken in one way or another. Over 14,000 wars have taken place, with an estimated death toll of 3.6 billion people. Do you know what that tells me? That tells me that the world is bad at making and keeping peace.
We’re not just talking about political peace either. What about personal peace? The world is bad at that too. The late columnist Ann Landers used to receive something like 10,000 letters a month. When asked what seems to be the most common topic, she answered that most people seem to be afraid of something. They are afraid of losing their health, their job, their family. They are afraid of upsetting their neighbor, alienating a friend, or committing a social faux pas. Many people are afraid when there is no reason to be afraid. Once again, that tells me that the world in which we live is bad at giving people peace in their lives.
This morning, Jesus tells us that he can do it. He can give you what the world can’t. In John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” The world can’t give you peace. But Jesus can. Today, we’re going to look at this peace that Jesus promises you. You’re going to learn something today – how this peace works. How this peace feels. Perhaps today you will walk out of here with a greater sense of peace than you had had before.
Jesus spoke these words to a very anxious, fearful bunch of disciples. Jesus was about to be arrested, tortured, and crucified. He was about to leave his disciples. Those disciples didn’t fully understand everything that was going to happen. But they felt a sense of dread, a sense of fear. They knew that something bad was about to happen, and they were all very uneasy. Here Jesus tells them that they do not need to be afraid or troubled. He will give them peace, his own, special kind of peace, not the kind of peace the world gives: “I do not give to you as the world gives,” Jesus says. He didn’t want them looking to the world for peace, because they wouldn’t find it there.
Before we go on, perhaps this is a good time to ask – have you been looking to the world, hoping to find peace in your life? The world tries to convince you that it’s good at providing peace. “If only you would make more money,” the world says. “Then you will feel peace in your life.” “If only you would lose weight, and get in shape, then you’ll find peace.” “If only you could get your family all back onto the same page, then you’ll find that peace you’re looking for.” “If only you would buy that special book, watch that special TV show. Then you will find out how to have peace in your life.” “If only you would take up that hobby you’ve been putting off for awhile.” “If only you would be a better person, nicer, more friendly, more outgoing. Then, you’ll finally be peaceful!!” That’s what the world says. Those things are all fine things to do, but none of them will give you a real, lasting, and deep sense of peace in your life.