Summary: Peace that Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but is rather the confidence that He is there with you always.
Safety consists not in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.
33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Peace that Jesus gives is not the absence of trouble, but is rather the confidence that He is there with you always.
Intro: In Europe, 1934, Hitler’s plague if anti-Semitism was infecting a continent. Some would escape it. Some would die from it. But eleven-year-old Heinz would learn from it. He would learn the power of sowing seeds of peace.
Heinz was a Jew. The Bavarian village of Fourth, where Heinz lived, was being overrun by Hitler’s young thugs. Heinz’s father, a schoolteacher, lost his job. Recreational activities ceased. Tension mounted on the streets. The Jewish families clutched the traditions that held them together-the observance of the Sabbath, of Posh Hashanah, of Yom Kippur. Old ways took on new significance. As the clouds of persecution swelled and blackened, these ancient precepts were a precious cleft in a mighty rock. And as the streets became a battleground, such security meant survival.
Hitler’s youth roamed the neighborhoods looking for trouble. Young Heinz learned to keep his eyes open. When he saw a band of troublemakers, he would step to the other side of the street. Sometimes he would escape a fight – sometimes not.
One day, in 1934, a pivotal confrontation occurred. Heinz found himself face-to-face with a Hitler bully. A beating appeared inevitable. This tome, however, he walked away unhurt – not because of what he did, but because of what he said. He didn’t fight back; he spoke up. He convinced the troublemakers that a fight was not necessary. His words kept battle at bay.
And Heinz saw first hand how the tongue can create peace. He learned the skill of using words to avoid conflict. And for a young Jew in Hitler-ridden Europe, that skill had many opportunities to be honed.
Fortunately, Heinz’s family escaped from Bavaria and made their way to America. Later in life, he would downplay the impact those adolescent experiences had on his development. But one has to wonder. For after Heinz grew up, his name became synonymous with peace negotiations. His legacy became that of a bridge builder. Somewhere he had learned the power of the properly placed word of peace. And one has to wonder if his training didn’t come on the streets of Bavaria.
You don’t know his as Heinz. You know him by his Anglicized name, Henry. Henry Kissinger. Paul Harvey’s ‘The Rest of the Story (New York, NY: Bantam, 1977), pg49
Before we face death we want to “make our peace with God.” The Bible refers to God as “the God of peace” (Rom 15:33; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 4:9). The Bible opens with peace in the Garden of Eden and closes with peace in eternity. Although the peace on earth in the garden was interrupted when man sinned, at the cross Jesus Christ made peace a reality again, and He becomes the peace of all who place their faith in Him. Peace can now reign in the hearts of those who are His. Someday He will come as Prince of Peace and establish a worldwide kingdom of peace, which will eventuate in ultimate peace, the eternal age of peace.
There is not peace now for two reasons: the opposition of Satan and the disobedience of man. The fall of the angels and the fall of man established a world without peace. We live in a culture that does not respect peace. We as Americans thrive on conflict. Our daily T.V. shows are being taken over by Judges who set and listen to senseless people who are at war with one another. We have made Jerry Springer a rich man for bringing the battles of the galacticly stupid into our homes. We even have people in our churches that thrive on conflict, and I’m not just talking about members, I’m talking about pastors and other church leaders. Some preachers feel that the only way they can preach is on the emotional charge of anger. So if there isn’t anything before them that stirs them up, they’ll take matters into their hands and stir something up.
The popular philosophy of the world, bolstered by the teaching of many psychologists and counselors, is to put self first. But when self is first, peace is last. Self precipitates strife, division, hatred, resentment, and war. It is the great ally of sin and the great enemy of righteousness and, consequently, of peace.
Remember playing “King of the Hill” as a kid? The object of the game is to get high on the heap and stay there. You push, claw, and climb until you get to the top. And once you get there, you fight to hold your position. Don’t even think about sitting down. Forget enjoying the view. Slack up for even a minute, and you’ll be slapped down to the bottom of the hill. And then you’ll have to start all over again.