This morning I preached at a funeral, using John 14:25-27 as the text. In that passage Jesus is speaking to his close disciples and He is preparing them for the rapidly approaching time of His departure from their presence. They have been together nearly three years and there are some things that He believes are very important for them to know now, and so in verse 27 He says:
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
In this time of departure Jesus wants His disciples to know peace, and He wants them to know that the peace He gives is not the same thing as peace that is found in the world. Dictionary definitions of peace include:
The normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world; A state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations;
A state of tranquility or serenity.
These are all pretty good things to have, be it for an individual person, a group of people or even between countries. But they pale in comparison to the peace that Jesus gives to those who, by faith, follow Him. The peace that comes through the world is a transient thing. It is a temporary thing. It endures for a time, but that time always ends.
The peace of Christ is an everlasting thing. It is an eternal thing. It comes as a gift from one whose nature is everlasting, and so all the things He gives to those who follow Him are also everlasting. By faith in Christ we are restored in our relationship with God, and the peace that Christ gives cannot fail.
Having the peace of Christ does not mean that we won’t have times of hardship and suffering. But it does mean that even in those times we can know true peace, because Christ is with us. And this is the peace that I tried to point to this morning.
People were gathered to worship God and remember a man who was a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, and a friend. There was much sorrow and much grief. My prayer for them is that they take to heart the words Jesus spoke to His disciples and know the unfailing peace that is only found in Him. And may you know this peace too. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.