This morning I had the privilege of teach our adult Bible Fellowship group or Life Group or if you’re “old school” Sunday School class. I gave them the option of hearing the bad news or the good news first. They chose the bad news first. A couple of reasons, one the idea of “let’s get the bad news over so we can get to the good news” and the other was they could see the bad news was shorter than the good news. So likewise you get the bad news first as well.
The Bad News:
We are looking at what is referred to as Jesus Farewell Discourse (John 13:31 – 16:33). This comes as part of Jesus final Passover celebration with his disciples. He begins the evening by removing his outer garments and washing the disciples feet. Causing shock and even arguments with His disciples. As part of Farewell Discourse He gives the disciples (and in reality us) a strong warning in John 15:18-21
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
Jesus warns the disciples and in turn us that if we choose to follow Him and stand up for Godly principles then we will be hated by the world. We shouldn’t be surprised when we take a stand that goes against “popular” secular opinion we’ll be called intolerant and a plethora of other names that I won’t type here. But we have a hope and a promise. Regardless of the circumstances you can walk in God’s peace. If you don’t believe that’s possible or happening in our world today, I encourage you to check out The Voice of the Martyrs. But don’t get too discouraged there is good news.
The Good News
The good news I’m talking about today can also be found as part of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse Let’s look at John 14:25-27.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 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.
I want to focus on verse 27 and the word peace. What do you think of when you think of the word peace? The “Google” dictionary defines peace as freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. However, the expression peace which comes from the Hebrew word Shalom had a much richer connotation than our English word describes. The word Shalom conveys not merely the absence of conflict and turmoil but also the notion of positive blessing. Especially in light of a right relationship with God
Some verses to reflect on:
I believe Jesus didn’t do anything by accident. From the beginning of this final Passover meal with His disciples when He stripes down and washes their feet to His High Priestly prayer in chapter 17. If you take time to read the entire section you will see Jesus washing their feet, followed by his proclamations that one would betray Him and His closest friend, Peter, would deny him. He then goes on to give them words of encouragement and promise, including the promise of peace. If you count verses there are 49 verses of “positive” with 10 verses of “warning.” Maybe Jesus knew that his disciples need almost 5 times as much encouragement than warning. I know as I think about myself, that’s pretty much what I need.
Additional Verses on Peace:
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!”
He makes peace in your borders; he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.