The scripture this week is John 14:23-27. As we continue with our Center-Peace series, this week we read how Jesus has what we need.
I hate to admit this, but one of the reasons I became a Christian was because I thought that if I accepted Jesus, he would fix my life. And by “fix my life,” I meant take care of all my problems for me.
I had heard that Christians really didn’t have problems. I had even known several Christians who seemed to have it all together. So I figured if I could just become a Christian, then I could get it all together too.
That’s not how it worked out. In fact, Jesus ruined my life. Or at least he ruined the life I once had. I used to have a pretty good life: a well-paying, respectable job, lots of job security. Even though I knew something was missing, I had it pretty good. And then I found Jesus. Now I’m a preacher, trying to figure out a new job in a new place. I’m not getting paid nearly as much as I used to and I could get moved to another town at any time. Some people would say Jesus ruined my life. But I don’t have any complaints. I wouldn’t trade this new life for anything.
In today’s scripture, Jesus tells us that he’s got what we need. We need peace, we need the sort of changed lives that come through a transformative experience of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And that’s what Jesus offers us. He says to the disciples, “I leave you peace, my peace I give you.” He gives them peace. He gives them the Holy Spirit.
And it ruined their lives. All of them but one ended up being executed for their refusal to give up their faith in Jesus; for their refusal to surrender the inner peace they had found in Jesus. But none of them would have traded their new lives in Jesus for anything.
The world tells us it’s got what we need. It tells us that we can make our own peace, buy our own peace. If we’ll just buy that TV or that car. If we’ll just try a little harder to make that Christmas dinner with the family just the way it’s supposed to be. If we can just go off by ourselves, then we’ll have peace. Then, everything will be just fine.
But as we all know, that doesn’t work. The TV’s great for a while but eventually that hollow feeling returns. The holiday get-together inevitably goes sideways. And when we finally get our “me time,” we often can’t even enjoy it.
The fact is, the world lies. It does not have what we need. Only Jesus has that. Only Jesus can offer us true peace through the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our selves.
But we shouldn’t be under any illusions. The peace Jesus offers doesn’t mean our lives will suddenly be fixed. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have to face difficulties and distractions. That’s what the world promises. What Jesus promises is that in the midst of all the difficulties of our day-to-day lives, in the midst of the difficulties and distractions, we can choose peace by choosing to let Jesus abide with us an in us.