I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Jesus is trying to prepare his disciples for what they will face in the days ahead. His arrest, his death, their desertion, the despair and confusion between Friday and Sunday. Jesus has forewarned them that he will leave them, but that he will return again. Even after his glorious resurrection the remaining 11 disciples faced troubles – in fact every single one of the them, apart from John, died a premature death at the hands of persecutors.
We now live in an in-between time. We know that Jesus is alive and that he has conquered death and sin, and yet we still live in the fallen world. We are waiting for the final restoration and renewal of all things. Jesus knew that his disciples would need supernatural encouragement to make it through the days that would follow. He offers the same encouragement to us – no matter what the world throws at us, it will be OK, because he has overcome the world!
Jesus wants us to have peace. This does not mean an absence of trouble, but an ability to remain focussed, grounded and filled with hope and joy even in the midst of trials. Notice that the way we obtain this peace in him. We are wasting our time trying to find it in anything else.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord for ever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
Perfect peace…sounds too good to be true? How on earth do we obtain this perfect peace? Is it by living in a state of oblivious denial to the troubles and problems around us? Or by striving to sort out everything in our lives until we finally reach a place of contentment?
No, Isaiah declares that the key to being ‘kept’ in perfect peace, is to have a mind that is fully trusting in God. Our minds are very important – how we think strongly governs how we feel and behave. And Isaiah knows that the only way that it is possible to have peace in this world is to centre our thoughts on the One who is rock-solid, and place our trust in his goodness, his provision and his love. Like the man who built his house on the rock in Jesus’ parable, we can stand against the storms of life if we have a firm foundation.
Paul urges the Philippian church to talk to God about every situation, concern and need:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7
This perfect peace, which only God can supply, defies all human reasoning and understanding. It is available to all of us, if we will take up God’s free offer of a personal and living relationship with him.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:3-5
Meditate on this incredible description of Jesus in Isaiah this weekend. Bring your griefs and sorrows to Him; let his wounds heal yours. Praise Him that his sufferings have paid for your sin.