No Jesus, No Peace; Know Jesus, Know Peace
Some years ago our nation went through a bumper sticker phase and you would see all kinds of messages displayed on the front and rear bumpers of the various types of vehicles travelling the highways. One particular phrase from a bumper sticker that always stuck in my memory is the title of this article. We have just come through the Christmas season and the word “peace” is frequently used during this season on Christmas cards, songs, store advertising and yet we do not really understand what God is offering when we hear this word used in its various formats. We hear things like “peace on earth” and other similar phrases that lead our thinking away from what God’s word tells us about His “peace.”
Jesus told us “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.” He repeatedly uses the word “you” in this passage from which we can conclude that the peace Jesus provides is a gift offered to individuals and cannot be accepted by one person on behalf of another. Jesus statement regarding “I do not give to you as the world gives” lets us know that it is a gift with no strings attached and without ulterior motives.
Matthew 10:34 confirms this for us when Jesus said “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Jesus is making it very clear that the peace God offers is to individuals and He views the world as His adversary (“I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”). While it is a nice thought that we could have “peace on earth”, there is only one way this could happen and that would be for every individual on earth to accept the free offer of grace God has made to every individual through a personal relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” So the first critical element we need to understand about God’s peace is that it is an offer made to individuals and it is a result of our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our personal savior. A natural extension of this element is that the more time and energy we invest in growing our faith and trust the easier it is to rely on God’s peace even in difficult and trying times. Philippians 4:7 tells us “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Essentially God’s peace is so great it exceeds anything and everything we might face in this world. The key being that we live our lives with Jesus Christ as the one and only source we rely upon to get us through our life. We call on the Lord not just during the difficult or rough times in life but we maintain our reliance and dependence on Jesus Christ every hour of every day. When we live our lives in this manner then we demonstrate to the world where our peace generates from. In this way we can know God’s peace and call on Him no matter the circumstance or situation.
This brings us back to the bumper sticker statement that I used for the title of this article; the only way we can truly know peace is to know Jesus. When we know Jesus in this very personal, intimate way then we begin the journey of growing our faith and trust in our Heavenly Father’s peace that He desires for all of His children. When we “know Jesus” then we have open access to God’s peace. Peter stated it this way “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing ’For, ‘Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” This passage clearly tells us that we must seek and pursue peace so that we can meet the very high standards that God has established for His children. This is why the world, as a whole, cannot experience God’s peace because they are unwilling to exert the effort necessary to seek and pursue it. While there is a day coming where we will be surrounded by God’s peace, our present day responsibility is to share with the world the only way to know God’s peace is a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!