Okay, Dear Reader, I’m going to show my age a bit here: does anyone else remember the peace protests in the 60s and 70s? Please tell me I’m not the only one.
It was a time of stretching our wings, finding our voices. If you remember those years, you’ll probably remember it was a time of anything but peace. In our home battles frequently erupted between our military, hawkish dad, and my brother who was trying so hard to break free of our strict, conservative upbringing.
Jesus was certainly no stranger to conflict and confrontation. He lived in a country firmly under the boot of the most powerful nation in the world. The Roman army was a constant presence; Roman taxes a constant reminder of who was in charge.
Dear Reader, peace was definitely in short supply in the world Jesus walked in, never enough to go around.
If foreign oppressors weren’t enough, there were zealots plotting to overthrow them, making swift, undercover strikes against the Romans. There was the Sanhedrin, always on the lookout for the slightest slip under the weight of the massive Mosaic law. I wonder if some days it felt like there wasn’t even enough oxygen to take a breath without somebody getting up in your face.
In a time and place where the smallest infraction could have major consequences (like death or imprisonment or being kicked out of the temple for good), Dear Reader, this man, Jesus, came preaching about love, His Father’s love.
If we read the Gospels carefully, we might notice that Jesus rarely seemed to be in a hurry. On the other hand, we frequently read about Him having to pull one disciple or another out of the rafters. Jesus may have been in crisis much of His time on earth, but we never see Him in crisis mode.
Maybe that’s why it was easy to leave His followers such a magnificent gift.
“I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!” John 14: 27 TPT
Dear Reader, Jesus knew, He knew! He knew His children would always have threats from within and without coming against their peace. I like how the The Passion Translation expresses it, “the kind of fragile peace given by the world”.
Life may seem hard, the trials of this world may seem insurmountable, but there’s hope for us. Later in the same conversation in the upper room, Jesus told His disciples that He had overcome the world…once and for all. Jesus is never surprised or overwhelmed. He knows exactly what we need and long for…peace.
Jesus offers us what the Apostle Paul called, “God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding” (Philippians 4: 7 TPT). And the news just keeps getting better, Dear Reader. In Jesus, there’s always enough peace to go around, for every person and for every need.
Dear Reader, I glanced at the date on this post and it felt like someone had grabbed me by the throat. Today would have been my brother’s birthday. I’ve written through tears.
One more time, just one more time I wish I could have told him that Jesus loved him, and that He died and rose again so He could trade my brother’s pain for His peace. Instead, he was left for dead in a street, and died alone a couple of weeks later. By the time I knew what was going on, it was too late.
There was enough peace for him, plenty of peace if he would have chosen to accept the free gift Jesus offered. Is there somebody you’d like to tell one more time about all Jesus has to offer, Dear Reader?