Jesus: The Giver of Peace

    If there is anything earnestly yearned for the whole world it is peace.  If we should conduct a survey among any group of people in the world and ask, “What is the one thing you desire more than anything else” the chances are that the one answer heard more than any other is peace.  How do we know?  Because “peace” has been the most often answer to similar surveys in the past.  Peace is rarely spoken of as an accomplished reality, but as a yearning hope.
                 People yearn for peace in relationships…with their family,...their friends and their co-workers.

Most people yearn for peace of mind as they deal with sickness, afflictions, financial problems, legal problems, aging, and eventually, death.
Many older people deal with anxiety as to whether they will be able to financially cope with their pension, social security, and whatever savings they have.  Many have seen their retirement investments lose a third or more in value over the past year.
Americans now fear for their wellbeing in a time of terror.  Previous to September 11th most Americans were “self-absorbed and self-indulgent” to quote Mrs. Laura Bush.  After the devastating attack by terrorists on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a foiled attack probably intended for the White House many Americans have been fearing for their very lives.  While most of us were considering life with the question, “How can I get the most of what I want out of life?”, there were evil men plotting our destruction:  Who among 272 million Americans were aware that Mohammed had written,

     “The true Umma – the community of Islam – fight in the way of Allah;  all infidels in the way of idols.  So true Moslem, fight the friend of Satan. Then in the day of peace there will come a sudden overturning and the oppressors will come to naught.”      Koran 4:78; 26:228 

       Some Moslems have been aware and some have put a radical interpretation on these words  Notable were Caliph Umar in the 7th century;  Salidin in the 12th century;  Sultan Selim and his son, Suleiman, in the 16th century.  By their sword they conquered the northern coast of Africa and up into Spain.  They conquered Persia, Iraq, Syria, central Asia, and to the gates of Vienna in Europe.

In our lifetime other extremist Islamic leaders have revived the radical interpretation of Mohammed’s call for holy war.  Muammar Gaddhafi of Libya;  the Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran and others.  We have space for only one quote by Khomeini.  Shortly after he installed his revolutionary government in Persia he said, “We shall export our revolution to the whole world.  Until the cry ‘Allah Akbar’ (God is great) resounds over the whole world, there will be struggle.  There will be Ji’had.’”- Quoted in “The Dhimmi Newsletter” October 1990  The training of every child in Iran to be a terrorist began.  Countless terrorist groups were spawned.
The leader of one of those terrorist groups was Osama bin Laden.  Terrorism has punctuated the years that followed:

·               1993  An attack on U.S. soldiers in Somalia killing 18 and the bombing of the World Trade Center with a van filled with explosives.
·         1998  An attack on the U.S. embassies took place in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on  the same day on August 7th  when 224 were killed and nearly 5000 injured.  On December 11th an Algerian was stopped at the U.S./Canada border carrying over 100 pounds of bomb material to be set off at the Los Angeles, CA airport on New Year’s day.
·         2000  On January 3rd a small boat loaded with explosives attempted to attack a U.S. destroyer.  Fortunately the boat sank.  On October 12th the USS Cole was struck by a small boat loaded with explosives.  Seventeen crew members were killed; 40 injured and the USS Cole nearly sank.
         Up until this time most Americans continued to be “self-absorbed and self-indulgent.”, Not considering these attacks to pose any personal threat to them.
·         2001  September 11th.  Within one hour two passenger planes flew into the upper floors of the World Trade Center and another plane flew into the Pentagon.  A fourth plane was aborted from its target by brave passengers and crashed in western Pennsylvania.  The toll was over 5000 killed; over $100 billion of immediate damage and untold damage on the economy of the U.S. and the world.  In the hours and days that followed the destructive power of terrorists gained the riveted attention of Americans.
          The bustling society of America ground down to a crawl.  Some felt personal anxieties and some were virtually paralyzed by fear. The number of sleeping pills and tranquilizers purchased quadrupled.
Never before in the history of the United States have so many Americans been asking themselves the question, “What is the solution to fear.”

God Has A Remedy For Fear
Let us look at two statements Jesus made just before He faced the greatest trial of His eternity:  “Peace I leave with you;  My peace I give to you;; not as the world gives, do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27  “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer;  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33.

  1. Accept The Fact That None of Us Are Exempt From Trouble
      “In the world you will have tribulation.”    
any group of men were ever entitled to be exempt from troubles it was the apostles.  They ranked at the top in their dedication, obedience, and fervency to Christ.  Yet, they experienced countless troubles in their ministry and were eventually put to death by those who hated them, - except John.  He survived boiling oil and was banished to the isle of Patmos.

          There are three reasons we will all have troubles: 
1)  Other people have fallen natures that motivate them to cause trouble for us. 
2)  We have a fallen nature that motivates us to make lousy decisions that brings trouble on us, and,
           3)  The Devil is committed to cause us all the trouble he can. 
Someone said, “There’s a word that describes someone who is having a series of troubles. It’s spelled L-I-F-E!”
        How does accepting the fact that we will experience troubles help us?  Here’s the testimony of the apostle Paul: “ . . .I have learned  in whatever state I am to be content.”   How did he learn this?  He answers that as a result of experiencing humble status and honored status; being well fed and going hungry; having abundance and suffering need that he learned, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.”  (See Philippians 4:12, 13)   We, too, can learn that Jesus will strengthen us to deal with any troubles we are called to face.  

2.  Affirm Our Faith That God Wants Us To Have Peace
     “My peace I give to you. . .”,  . .in Me you may have peace.”
                  On numerous occasions Jesus taught that faith in the loving care of our heavenly Father was the remedy for anxiety and fear:  . . .do not worry about your life, what you will eat. . .or drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. . Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”  Matthew 6:25, 26.  “Do not fear, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”     Luke 12:32
One preacher commented that if we can believe that God is going to give us the kingdom, then surely we can believe Him to give us a biscuit.”

3.    Acknowledge That True Peace Is To Be Found In Jesus Christ
“Peace I leave with you;  My peace I give to you. . .”  “. . .in Me you have peace.                 In Jesus we find peace that our sins are forgiven.  One of the most beautiful stories in the gospels tells about a woman who was a well known immoral street walker.  God put within her heart a desire to have her sins forgiven and to be accepted by God.  She heard that Jesus was eating as a guest at a home in her village, and came with an expensive vial of perfume.  With her tears she wet Jesus’ feet and wiped them with the hair of her head.  Then she kissed His feet and anointed them with the perfume.  Jesus said to His host, “. . .her sins, which are many, have been forgiven. . .”  and then He said to the woman, “Your sins have been forgiven. . .your faith has saved you;  go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50).
All sincere believers who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior are assured, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1  

In Jesus we find inner peace in the midst of perplexities and fear.
          There have been few people more perplexed and fearful than the apostles on the Sunday evening following His death and burial.  Just one week previous they had marched into Jerusalem in the triumphal entry.  They had felt that Jesus would be crowned King of kings and they would rule with Him.  Instead, Jesus was rejected, crucified, and buried.  Let us ponder John’s account of what happened:
Then the same day at evening…being the first day of the week,  when the doors were shut…for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’  When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side.  Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  Jesus therefore said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’” John 20:19-21 
In a moment of time their fears and perplexities were replaced with inner peace.  Outside those doors the religious leaders still hated Jesus…and His followers as much as ever.  Yet, in their minds and hearts there was peace.  Although the storms of wrath and persecution would continue to swirl around them they knew Jesus was the Son of God they believed Him to be.  Although their minds were still confused and they still didn’t fully understand what God was doing they knew Jesus would make it clear to them in due time.
          We, too, can find inner peace in the resurrected, all powerful Jesus Christ as we pass through our own storm of life.

  In Jesus we find peace when we have great needs. 
The apostle Paul gives us this formula:  “Rejoice in the Lord always…Let your gentleness be known to all…Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.      See Philippians 4:4-7
Whatever unsettles us, let us remember that Jesus is the Giver of peace and let us appropriate that peace by our faith in Him

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted