Summary: If Jesus could give His disciples peace when He left the world behind, He can give us peace as we wait for His return.
Dec. 12, 1999 John 14:1-6, 25-31
How can I have peace for the future?
A man was walking on the beach one day, and he noticed something shiny sticking up out of the sand. He went over to investigate and found that it was an Arabian lamp much as he had seen in stories of Aladdin. Even though he knew the stories were fables, he thought that he would give the lamp a try. He closed his eyes, rubbed the lamp, and to his amazement, a Jeanie appeared! The Jeanie informed him that he was very old and very tired, so he only had the power to grant one final wish. The man thought for a minute. Then he got an idea. “Jeanie, give me the page of the paper that has the stock report for one year from today’s date.” Puff, the Jeanie was gone, and in his place, a paper began floating down to the man. He thought to himself, “I’m finally going to be able to have peace about my future. I will be able to know for certainty what stocks to invest in so that I can have a secure financial future. Now I can get married to my girlfriend, I can plan where I’m going to live the rest of my life, and I can start my own business. I’ll never have to worry ever again!” When the paper finally made it down to the man, and he was able to grasp it, he looked it over, and the Jeanie had come through. The man began to plan exactly where he was going to place all of his assets. Then he placed the paper in his shirt pocket. What he failed to see was that on the other side of the paper was the obituary column. The name at the top of the list would have caught the man’s eye if he had seen it – the name was his.
Most of us would like to know something about the future. That’s why psychic hotlines are such money-makers. They claim to have the ability to see into the future. They claim to be clairvoyant. Everyone wants to know what tomorrow will bring so that they can prepare for it today. An ironic announcement appeared in the newspaper one morning – “Due to unforeseen circumstances, no clairvoyant meeting will be held until further notice.” [Union-Sun Journal, quoted in Lloyd Cory, Quote Unquote] My personal belief is that if we knew our own personal future, it would scare us so much that it would take away our peace rather than increasing our peace. That’s what happened to Jesus’ disciples. Just before Jesus died, He and His disciples gathered for one final time until after His resurrection. Jesus told them what was getting ready to happen. In John 13:31ff, Jesus told His disciples that He was getting ready to go away – He was going to die. At Peter’s protests over this, Jesus told Peter that he was going to deny three times that he had ever known Jesus. That was one piece of Peter’s future that he did not wish to know about.
You can imagine the fear that this revelation must have created in the minds of those men. They had devoted the last three years of their lives to Jesus and His ministry. They had left behind their jobs for Jesus. In all the traveling that they had done with Jesus, they had spent very little time with their families. What was there to go back to when Jesus was gone? If Jesus was going to die, who would there be to lead them? Were they going to be the next ones to die? Was everything that Jesus had said and done for nothing?