JOHN 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Do you know what the second Sunday of Advent is? Today, many churches do not celebrate the observance of Advent. Advent is the four-week observance on the church calendar leading up to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. One of the tradtions of Advent that I grew up with was the lighting of the Advent candles each Sunday as we heard the Christmas story.
Each candle represented an aspect of the blessings of Jesus’ coming. The order of the candles varies by some traditions. The tradition that I grew up in observed the following order.
- First Sunday of Advent: The candle of Hope (purple candle)
- Second Sunday of Advent: The candle of Peace (purple candle)
- Third Sunday of Advent: The candle of Joy (pink candle, pink was the liturgical color for joy)
- Fourth Sunday of Advent: The candle of Love (purple candle)
- Christmas Day: The Christ candle (white candle)
Each week was a special time to focus on the blessings of Christ. This past Sunday observed the lighting of the candle of Peace. The promise of peace was a central promise to the coming of the Messiah. The wonderful prophetic writings of Isaiah captured this promise.
- “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
And, Luke records the wonderful promise of the Angels to the Shepherds.
- “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:11-14 NKJV
When one reads these promises there seems to be a disconnect somewhere in our world. If Jesus came to bring peace on earth and goodwill toward men, and if He truly is the Prince of Peace, then why is there so much turmoil and unrest in the world today? So many songs have been written calling for peace, men and women have protested for peace, and the United Nations was founded to foster peace, and yet our world goes on warring and fighting and peace seems to elude us.
Jesus answers this question in the Gospel of John when he begins teaching the disciples of his coming departure back to the Father and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises not to leave them as orphans. The Holy Spirit would come and dwell within each believer. And, in this context, Jesus gives them, and us, this very special promise.
- “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Jesus one day will return and bring world peace when He sets up His Millenial Kingdom (Read Revelation 19-20). Yet, Jesus promises us peace now in this life. The promise of peace was not a Christmas promise that was for some time in the future. It was the promise of peace in the here and now. Yet, it was not the peace that the world was looking for or hoping for. This is why the world rages on and misses the promise of His peace.
The world’s peace is the absence of something. It is the absence of war, noise, confrontation, personal struggle, and the list goes on and on. This is why the world never achieves peace. It is like the circus act of the plate spinner. Just when one plate gets spinning correctly the next one begins to wobble. To have perfect peace all the plates need to be spinning at the same time and the same speed. This is not humanly possible. Eventually, plates begin to crash to the ground and break. Peace is lost!
The peace that Jesus brings is not the cessation of something. In fact it is not a something. The promise of peace is the promise of a person. It is the promise of the indwelling Spirit of God living in us. And, it is through the indwelling Spirit of God that we enter into His peace. His peace is His presence. The very presence of the living God, dwelling within the human spirit, is the only source of true and lasting peace!
- “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” John 14:23 NKJV
The second candle of Advent represents the promise of His Peace. It is not the cessation of things without. It is the promise of the indwelling presence of God within. It is Jesus Christ in us – the Prince of Peace, the hope of glory! This is the peace that enabled Jesus to sleep in a boat that was being tossed to and fro by the waves and wind. It was the peace that allowed Jesus to endure the cross. It was the peace that encountered the disciples when they met the risen Christ. And, it is the peace that Jesus gives to every believer when they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The gift of Peace is Jesus!
Lord, this Advent season, help me to remember Your great promise of Peace!
- “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
In Jesus’ Name!