“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV
Janice and I went to see the 1967 musical Hair with some friends this past weekend. Set in the Vietnam War era, peace and love were the mantras of the "enlightened" hippies. While their desire for these things was admirable, indeed, it's consistent with the teachings of Christ; they were searching for man's definition of peace and love. A world peace that cannot happen without first achieving Christ’s inner peace and agape, not hedonistic love.
Today’s verse speaks of that inner peace that comes through Christ. Shortly before Jesus is arrested, he has a final conversation with the disciples. He knows what will happen to him and is preparing them for what will come. He is preparing them not only for his death, resurrection, and ascension but for their persecution (John 16,2 NIV), “They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.” Even though Jesus will no longer physically be with them, in his love, he is sending them a Helper—the gift of the Holy Spirit, bringing a peace that would help them through the troubles ahead. Through Jesus’ conquering death, we do not need to fear the thing many people fear most. He left us with the promise of eternal life beyond these mortal bodies.
Loving God, we are thankful for the Holy Spirit, which brings comfort, hope, and peace even on our most terrible days. In our death, we have the promise of eternal peace through Christ’s conquering death. Help today as we share your message of peace and love with others. Amen.