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Peace Be with You

When I first encountered Jesus, and before I really knew anything about Him, I read these words in our verse for today and was captivated by the profound promise He gives here. My own world had ‘fallen apart’ when I opened the door of my heart to Jesus, because that also meant I’d closed it to so much of the life, goals and relationships I’d previously held dear. The circumstances of my life were in turmoil and so ‘peace’, in any sense of certainty, security or calm, was very much an elusive dream in the midst of that rollercoaster ride I was experiencing.

But into the middle of that came Jesus.

The thing I tasted then, in leaning on Him when the world around me was shaking, was that Jesus really does give peace in a way that the world doesn’t and can’t.

The world is only able to give us peace when ‘all our ducks are in a row’. We can feel a sense of peace when our loved ones are well and thriving or when our relationships are all good, when the mortgage is secure, when there aren’t any health scares or when our work is fulfilling, fruitful, maybe. But how long does that sense of wellbeing last? In my life, I can sometimes feel that kind of peace for a moment or two - until the next thing comes along to ravage my heart.

Alternatively, Jesus is able to give us peace when everything in life is a nightmare!

This passage in John’s Gospel is actually at a moment of real confusion for the disciples. It’s just before Jesus goes to the cross. He has a whole conversation with his friends about Him leaving them, about Him sending them another ‘Comforter’ to be with them after He’s gone, but they don’t really ‘get’ it: maybe it will make sense later.

So, Jesus is not talking here about the sense of peace that can come when everything is fabulous and glorious and triumphant in the traditional way. He’s talking about giving them a deeper, richer, enduring peace in Himself when the world hates Him and them and the whole earth is trembling around them.

The extraordinary nature of the peace that only Jesus can bring is even clearer when He comes again right into the heart of a moment when there’s no earthly reason whatsoever to feel anything other than confusion and horror and despair.

He comes to the disciples and brings His peace again in the Upper Room after they’ve seen him crucified and buried. They’re terrified. All their hopes have been shattered. All their expectations of ‘Messiah’ (the big rescuing hero who they thought would rescue them from the Romans) have been ruined. At this point they’re not only dead to hopes of the future but they’re in real fear for their very lives. And what does He say: “Peace be with you” (John 20:19).

Jesus comes to them in that moment of horror, and He comes to us too, whatever we’re facing, whatever trouble, uncertainty, fear, or actual present sorrow. He comes - with His peace. It’s deeper than our circumstances and on a whole different level to that which the world brings.

Prayer: Oh, dear Lord Jesus, thank You. Thank You for understanding that our lives are such a mixture of hope and fear, of confusion and longing. We’re so grateful that You know us inside out and that our past, present and future are not a mystery to You. Thank You that You are secure and stable however wobbly our lives might feel. Thank You so, so, much that You bring us Your peace. Your peace. Please help us to receive Your peace, which is bigger and deeper and more sustaining than anything our messy, painful world can provide. Whatever my circumstances today, please help me turn to You and to rest in You above all. Help me to let You fill me with Your peace. Amen.


 

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Scripture

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27, NIV

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Today's Writer

Sue Sainsbury and her husband, John, have just begun a big, new adventure as part of the leadership team at Ellel Grange, where they are committed to living lives as disciples of Jesus and helping others on their journey with Him.

Sue Sainsbury


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