Summary: If most people haven’t read God’s word, they aren’t seeing Christ’s command, and there’s nothing in their hearts for the Holy Spirit to help them understand. So the peace that Jesus promises us is lost for the lack of trying.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Jesus says that those who love him will keep his word; and those who don’t love him won’t keep it. Those who keep his word will be filled with the Holy Spirit, who will teach us and guide us according to the will of the Father.
This is one of the few Gospel passages that show us the Trinity in action: three separate persons, acting as one entity.
And we need to participate to gain the benefit of Christ’s promise. We need to keep his word — in normal English that means “obey.” We need to obey Jesus. He tells us that the word is from the Father, not him. So he’s not making it up as he goes along — the word had already come from the Father in the Old Testament. Jesus merely clarified it for us; he didn’t change it.
But we can understand it only through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, it makes no sense to us and seems, as the Apostle Paul has mentioned, like foolishness to those who are perishing.
We have to be willing instead of willful. We have to follow God’s will instead of our own. And that is incredibly difficult for believers. It’s almost impossible for those people who refuse to believe.
That’s why when we talk about our faith with an atheist, our most logical, even brilliant, arguments seem to fall on deaf ears. The Holy Spirit in this case as a theological “secret decoder ring.”
Those of us old enough to remember the days when boxes of cold cereal contained a prize inside them, may remember that “secret decoder rings” were some of the most sought after prizes, because they let you discover the secret message written on the back of the box.
The message was usually something like “Tell your parents to buy more Sugar Frosted Toasties” or some similar marketing ploy, but the idea was that every child wanted to know what the writing on the back of the box meant, and they could only interpret it correctly with the secret decoder ring inside.
In our society, it seems that more people want to know what’s written on the cereal box, inside of what’s written in our hearts. The Bible has outsold every other book in the world. Many people chalk that up to the Bible being around so long that accumulated sales make it impossible to beat. True enough. But it also outsells every other book, every single year. Nearly every household in the United States has a Bible, and the average home has four of them.
Yet most people here never read them. Not even a few books or chapters here and there. The Bibles sit on shelves or coffee tables collecting dust.
If most people haven’t read God’s word, they aren’t seeing Christ’s command, and there’s nothing in their hearts for the Holy Spirit to help them understand. So the peace that Jesus promises us is lost for the lack of trying.
What does Jesus tell us to do, above everything else? Love God, and love each other. The two are inseparable, because if we truly love God, we must love each other because we each are made in his image. Not that God has two arms and two legs, skin, hair, teeth, etc.
It’s the thing that makes us different from everything else, our souls, what makes us “us” — that is what is godlike about us. So if we reject God, we’re rejecting a part of ourselves too.
And that godlike part of us is what the Holy Spirit is able to work with to make us understand how to draw closer to God, and become even more like God.
Not in power — I want to make that totally clear — we do not become “God.” What we become is holy. The closer we draw toward God’s will and away from ours, the holier we become, and the more we understand how God can work in our lives.
Too many of us view salvation as a type of fire insurance. It’s not about where we go when we die. It’s about where we are while we live. Jesus says that if we obey him, he and the Father will love us and make their home with us.
That’s the true peace of Christ. It’s the indwelling of God within us.
Jesus offers us his peace, not the same peace offered by the world. During the most difficult times in the Gospels Jesus showed peace while others around him panicked.
Think about it. During his temptation in the wilderness, Jesus was at peace when confronted by Satan face-to-face. He sent Satan away by rebuking Satan’s offers with the promises of the Father in Holy Scripture.