Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Jesus' Last Word on Peace

"White House mulls special forces in Iraq crisis"

"Palestinians celebrate Hamas kidnappings of three Israeli children"

"DHS adviser says Caliphate’s return inevitable"

"US adds firepower in Persian Gulf"

"US forces nab suspect in Benghazi terror attack"

This sampling of today’s headlines doesn’t give us much hope for peace. The Middle East has been a bubbling cauldron for years; a boil over of hostilities is inevitable. Unfortunately, that boil over will have worldwide implications. I don’t base that statement on the vast amounts of oil in the region, the possibility of other nation’s troops joining the fight, or conflict between political parties.

The boil over of hostilities in the Middle East will have worldwide implications because of the surety of the prophecy of Scripture. “You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these events are the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:6-8).

And yet, God calls us to peace. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). Blessed are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). The fruit of the Spirit is peace (Galatians 5:22). As much as possible, we are to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). God is not a God of disorder but of peace (1Corinthians 14:33).

How do we find peace in a world that’s boiling over?

Jesus gave us some last minute instructions during His last Passover meal with His disciples, a meal we also know as the Last Supper. In those parting words just hours before His crucifixion, Jesus gave us some help for how to live at peace.

These two passages line up side by side to give us three key points on peace. We need to remember these as hostilities boil over around the world.

Peace is from Jesus

Jesus is the source of peace that surpasses our understanding (Philippians 4:7). As He told His disciples at the Last Supper and He tells us today, He left that peace here! He gave it to us. He reminded us that in Him we have peace. He alone can give you peace at all times and in all ways (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

Jesus’ peace is nothing like the world’s peace

The world wants you to suffer. The world loves darkness and delights in evil (John 3:19). The world can’t accept Jesus or His message (John 14:17). The world hates you (John 15:19) and it's corrupt (2 Peter 1:4). But that’s not what Jesus wants to give you. He wants to pull you away from that and toward Himself.

Jesus has it under control

Jesus wants to give you peace. The world wants you to suffer. It’s easy to be afraid or worry because we experience the world all around us. It presses in everyday. As hard as it might seem, we need to let go of the fear and worry, though. We can let go not because of our own strength or because of some false premise of peace in the world. We let go of fear and worry because Jesus has conquered the world. That victory is our source of courage!

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