I would like to share a portion of a sermon that I preached last month which seemed to be a source of great encouragement and strength to our congregation at Cross Community Church. The sermon was rooted in Jesus’ words recorded in John 14:27 —
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I delivered the sermon under three headings – The Person OF this Peace; The Purpose FOR this Peace; The Power IN this Peace. I’m planning to devote one blog to each of these headings, so we’ll be looking at them over the course of this week.
The Person OF This Peace
The first thing to unpack is the Person behind this incredible promise of peace. What do we know about the Man who promised to give His peace? Throughout the Old Testament, we see that the Person of this peace is God Himself. Gideon identified God as Jehovah-shalom—“the Lord is Peace”—when God called him to lead Israel out of bondage from the hand of Midian. Gideon’s call was very similar to that of Moses; God provided supernatural signs to strengthen Gideon’s faith and direct him to deliver God’s people from the hand of their oppressors.
Next we see that God in Christ is identified as the Prince of Peace in a prophecy from Isaiah:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
The key to understanding this incredible promise from God is found in the government that the Prince of Peace will one day establish . . . on earth as it is in heaven! The peace of God will rule and reign throughout the entire cosmos when Jesus returns to finish what He started. This Prince of Peace will establish a universe of peace of which there shall be no end. The lion will once again lie down with the lamb. The little child will handle the poisonous snake and not be bitten. The disorder in the universe that was brought on by the sin of our first parents will return to order and the peace of God will permeate all things.
The apostle Paul, who lived anything but a peaceful life after his Damascus Road conversion, revealed who this Person of peace truly is:
Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. (Ephesians 2:13-14)
In Paul’s day, a wall separated Gentiles and Jews in the courts of the temple in Jerusalem, and a sign there read, “No outsider [that is, no non-Jew] shall enter the protective enclosure around the sanctuary. And whoever is caught will only have himself to blame for the ensuing death.”
Those who were not of Jewish descent were prohibited from entering the inner areas of the temple to worship Yahweh—on pain of death! But our Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, destroyed this dividing wall through His atoning sacrifice for all those who would believe in Him—from every tongue, tribe, and nation. This is the Person of this peace, who offers His mercy and grace fully and freely to all who will come to Him in faith.
On Wednesday we’ll look at the purpose for this peace.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!