CHRIST'S PEACE AND OUR WORRIES

    
     Go with me to an upper room in the city of Jerusalem.  Jesus has eaten the Passover with his disciples.  He has ashed their feet, giving them a lesson in humility and service.  He has told them the badge of discipleship is their love for one another.  Then he told them he is going away, but he will be preparing a place for them.  Then, John records these words of Jesus in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you."
     This was Christ's last will and testament, it was His onlhy legacy.  Being the poorest of the poor, He had nowhere to lay His head.  He had nothing else to leave.  He had no material possessions to divide among the men He loved.  There were no stocks, no bonds, no land and no cattle.  Jesus left to them the one thing which was in His power to give.  He gave His peace.  Yet, could Jesus possibly have given them a more priceless possession than that?  Everywhere you look in our world today, there are men and women who are needing more than anything else to learn the secret of a true serenity.  That is especially true right now as we are the the throes of uncertainty because of the Coronavirus Pandemic.  At this very moment, there are hearts that are breaking because they lack this very thing Jesus is so eager to give.
     Part of the blame for the shortage of serenity characteristic of life in our day and time must be laid at the door of society in general.  Even before this "present distress", there was a constant assault on religion and traditional values.  Our world was not even then a tranquil world.  Even before this pandemic gripped our national conscience, more people than ever before were high strung, nervously irritable and lacking in repose.  The general insecurity of our present day registers not only politically and economically, the toll it takes emotionally and mentally is no less serious.  People today are carrying many burdens, heavy burdens.  Can peace come easily to a man out of work who is about to lose his home?  Can it come easily to his wife as she tries to make ends meet?  Can peace come easily to tired folk, overdriven almost to the breaking point?  Can it come to lonely souls who feel that this bustling world does not need them nor wan t them and that they are no use at all to any one?  The age in which we are living must accept mus of the responsibility for strained faces and lives that have lost their peace.
     But this age and time we live in cannot shoulder all of the blame.  The conditions we are living under right now can't bear the brunt of the blame either.  The real trouble lies deeper.  We must look into our own hearts.   We must explore the causes of our own restless moods and feeling.  We must talk to our soul about that sense of strain.  Why do we grow irritable?  Why do our nerves get on edge so that we say things we regret the moment we say them?  Why do we try to cross bridges before we ever get to them?  Why do we find it difficult to relax?  Why are there those days when nothing seems to go right?  Those days when work is a burden, people are exasperating an life is all worry and fret?
     Do we blame the world for that?  Do we blame our "quarantine" conditions?  Do we blame Washington?  Friends, none of those are to blame.  The trouble is with ourselves.  It is inside us.  We lack the peace of Jesus Christ.
     Do we have a longing for peace?  Does the idea of having peace appeal to us?  I don't mean the peace of lethargic ease or of a safe and sheltered life.  Nor do I mean the peace of the emotionless Stoic.  I mean the peace that stands sentinel at the gateway of the soul.  The peace that confronts all manner of difficult things with steady eyes.  The peace that holds the heart serene through crowded days, through overwork, and all the criticisms of men.  I mean the peace that Paul talks of in Philippians 4:7 and the peace that Jesus promises.
     Jesus says, "My peace I give unto you."  Do you ever in those Galilean days see Jesus irritated?  You see His righteous indignation aroused in the temple.  You see that he did not suffer with injustice.  Yet, look at the calmness of his nature.
     Think of what Jesus had to put up with.  Could we have endured it and remained calm?  The continual intrusions on his privacy, no rest often from dawn to dark, inconsiderate people breaking in on His hours of quiet, the burden of sharing every hurting heart's sin and sorrows.  Yet, on the face of Jesus there is no trace of nerves.
     Then look at His own disciples.  Their nerves sometimes gave way.  There was the Samaritan village that was rude and inhospitable and John wanted to bring fire down on them from heaven.  There was the day a crowd of 5,000 followed them to their secret retreat in the wilderness and the disciples said "send them away".  Yet, Jesus said, "they need not depart".
     My friends, the peace of Jesus is not some far off dream.  It is actually within our reach.  To us, those of us who are agitated, fretful and worried, Jesus says, "My peace I give you."
     You see, this peace of Jesus is the peace of adequate resources.  Few things are as wearing to the nerves as to face life with deficient spiritual resources.  Consciousness of inadequate resources can give us sleepless nights.  It weighs us down until we are utterly miserable.  It keeps us perpetually strained.  But there was nothing of that with Jesus.  He moved from one task to another without halting or haste.  He never had that haggard look of one who has reached his limit.  The peace of Jesus was the peace of a supreme adequacy for life.  Jesus can give that to us.
     Jesus can give us resources for every duty life lays before us.  He can give us resources to face the responsibilities we want to run away from.  Resources for the crowded days when the pressure of work becomes a nightmare.  Resources for hours of crisis such as we are facing even now.  The peace of Jesus is the peace of a disciplined life, the peace of a clean heart and the peace of fellowship with God.
     When we surrender our will to the will of Jesus, this peace can be ours.  It involves being obedient to the call of the gospel and living the kind of life that Jesus wants us to live.  That will bring us into daily fellowship with God.  Having daily fellowship with God through Jesus is to have found a peace which nothing in life can ever take away.
     Life may sometimes prove harsh and difficult.  Life may often deny our dreams and half starve our hopes.  However, in Jesus Christ we can find peace.
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Tim Perkins
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