During the season of Lent, the Church often visits the upper room where Jesus shared the Passover meal with his disciples. Certainly, the disciples had to have known something was up. Jesus was talking of leaving them, going away to a place they could not go, yet he shall return to them. Bewildered, curious, puzzled and mystified are all good words that might describe the feelings of the twelve. Then as Judas Iscariot abruptly left the room, other words might be used to describe hearts and minds of the remaining eleven. The words Jesus uses are troubled and afraid.
As Jesus prepares the disciples for a time when they are alone, he addresses their troubles and fears. Jesus gives them assurance that they are to be guarded by God. He lets them know the Father will send another advocate, the Holy Spirit to guide them. The Father will even grant unto them whatever they see they need as they ask it in Jesus’ name. Simply put, Jesus sets their hearts and minds at peace, a peace only he can give.
The peace of Christ is a gift like no other. As God’s beloved children, Christians the world over receive this same peace from Jesus as did the faithful disciples. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” Jesus knows the world will pull and tug at God’s people. It will challenge their faith, cause them to doubt, bringing worry into their lives while the evil one tries to lead them astray. He knows the hardships Christians will endure as they strive to love God and neighbor, care for the needy and proclaim the Good News of God’s salvation. The world will reject them, revile them, and persecute them for following the way of the Lord. But Christ also knows that the powers that defy God cannot overshadow the peace and promise of God’s love.
Today, Christians face the same obstacles to faith. The world still challenges us with empty promises of wealth and glory; promises that eventually lead to emptiness and death. Yet, God’s children walk by faith in this same promise of peace. The peace of Christ is the assurance that God’s people are not abandoned, we are not left on our own to face a world of sin and hurt. Living in the peace of Christ is no guarantee that God’s people will not face hardship. It is no promise that Christians will not struggle against our age old foe. The way to the peace of Christ is through the cross of Christ. And the way of the cross is the way of God’s victory over sin and the powers of the devil.
Jesus says, “My peace I leave with you…” In this peace, our Lord Jesus invites us to live as redeemed children of God, understanding the gifts of God’s peace and love are eternally given. As you continue to walk by faith, remember always to live in the peace of Christ. Live with the assurance that Jesus gives as the world cannot. The things of this world will one day fade away, but the peace of Christ, which passes all understanding, guards our hearts and minds forever.