|"Jesus gave man His peace because He understood how to obtain it."|
HOW DID HE DO IT? How did Jesus walk through His life on earth and never sin? When the anger pushed at Him, how did He turn it away? How did He resist the urge to say the wrong thing? How did He not overeat, overdo, overindulge the desires of His flesh? I hadn’t been awake for five minutes this morning before I’d blown up. It all just came piling on me, and I couldn’t take it anymore. How did He take it and take it and take it again and keep His peace?
Those were His words in John 14:17. This is the Knox version. “Peace is my bequest to you, and the peace which I will give you is mine to give; I do not give peace as the world gives it. Do not let your heart be distressed, or play the coward.” Jesus gave man His peace because He understood how to obtain it. He is the Prince of Peace prophesied in Isaiah 9:6, peace between man and God, peace between man and man, peace between man and himself. God’s answer to any of our struggles is always peace. But Jesus lived on earth subject to earthly passions and kept hold of peace.
How did He do it? How did Jesus remain sinless when man made fun of Him, derided Him, took His powerful words and spat them back at Him? Think of it. There is His creation, made in His image, after His likeness, dead in their sins, rejoicing in their sins, blind to the Son of God, who stood there before them. There are the people He loved, those of Israel, gazing at their Messiah, unable to see He was their Messiah. And He spoke not one word in a fit of rage. He did speak sharply at times, as the Father directed Him. He called the religious leaders “hypocrites” and “vipers.” But when the pressure was on, with false accusations spoken about Him, He said nothing at all. If we were in His shoes, we’d, at least, be thinking on our anger. But the Word says that He never thought outside of God’s nature. Where we act in complaint, where we become depressed by our circumstances, and restless and lash out at others or ourselves, He kept His peace. In the garden, He struggled with His emotions but committed Himself to what He’d been sent to do, and the Father sent angels to bring comfort.
1 Peter 2:22-23 Remedy
(22) “Christ never sinned, not even in thought. He never spoke a lie or practiced deceit.”
(23) “When they called him every foul name imaginable, he was compassionate and did not seek revenge; when he was tortured, he forgave and made no threats. He understood the greater reality and entrusted himself to his Father who accurately assesses everyone’s true condition.”
“How did He do it?” we ask again. How did He hang on the cross, forgive the thief who called on Him and those who had hung Him there? He had strength to maintain peace because He lived and breathed and walked in intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. He was led of the Spirit in every action. He leaned on the Spirit always, and after He rose again, He sent the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to mankind so that we could obtain His peace and walk in His same unity with the Father. Jesus was God, but He lived on earth as a man and so had to worship as man and listen as man and hear God’s words to Him as man. He spoke only what he heard the Father say. Only. His every word, every action, every healing was performed because He followed the Spirit’s directions, because He spoke the Spirit’s words. And so, when the moment came, when He had to physically die, He had to allow it for it to happen.
Satan had nothing in Him. These are His words in John 14:30. Satan had nothing in Him to kill Him, and because He trusted the Spirit, Jesus had everything He needed to go forward with His Father’s will. He had faith in His Father to raise Him from the dead. He looked forward to the joy that His obedience would bring, and now He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God crowned God in a plan written by God, perfected by God, who walked on earth as a man, made in the image of God, without sinning in thought or deed. The magnificence of it is beyond words.
God’s grace gives us His same Spirit to teach us and guide us and speak to us about Jesus. God’s goodness gives us Jesus to be with us forever. He is Christ, the Anointed One, and now His anointing resides within us and can come upon us. The Father speaks to us as He spoke to Him. We need never give into those moments when the flesh wants to take over. We can pray to God and cast our cares on Him and maintain our peace. Greater is He who is in us than anything in this world. We call upon Him, “Help me, God,” and He is faithful to answer, sometimes with a verse of Scripture, sometimes with a song in our heart, sometimes simply by being there, where we can feel Him, though He may say nothing at all.
And in those moments where we slip, even if we fall on our faces one more time, Christ in us offers forgiveness to keep going forward. When we explode, we find in us the still, small voice, wooing us back to self-control. When we scream out our frustrations and fall backward in guilt, God with us is unending, eternal love. And when our world falls apart in a moment, or a day, or for months at a time, however long it is, God is to us victory, overcoming power, and great confidence. The God of all peace is within us, restoring our faith to believe. How did Jesus do it? He walked by faith. Asked to walk on water, He trusted the Holy Spirit to keep Him afloat. Though the storm raged around Him, God was greater in Him. Asked to multiply bread to feed 5,000, God was greater upon Him. Looking Judas in the eye, daily, He walked in peace, without contempt for what He knew this disciple would do, and He loved Him anyway.
Such is our commandment. Such is our strength. Such is our peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 Remedy
(6) “You don’t need to worry or fret about anything: with a thankful heart, just talk to God about all your concerns, troubles and stresses,”
(7) “and God’s peace—that is beyond words and human explanation—will fill your minds and strengthen your hearts as you trust totally in Christ Jesus.”
Suzanne D. Williams, Author