Daily Reading & Meditation

Tuesday (May 20): "My peace I give to you"

Scripture: John 14:27-31

27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, `I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go hence.

Meditation: Do you know the peace which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)? In his farewell discourse Jesus grants peace as his gift to his disciples. What kind of peace does he offer? The peace of Christ is more than the absence of trouble. It includes everything which makes for our highest good. The world's approach to peace is avoidance of trouble and a refusal to face unpleasant things. Jesus offers the peace which conquers our fears and anxieties. Nothing can take us from the peace and joy of Jesus Christ. No sorrow or grief, no danger, no suffering can make it less.

The true nature of peace
How can we attain the peace which the Lord Jesus offers his followers? Caesarius of Arles (470-542 AD), a early church bishop in Gaul who was noted for his preaching and wisdom of Scripture, links peace with Christian character - the virtues which strengthen us in living as disciples of Christ. Caesarius describes some of the key character traits which form us into true people of peace:

"Peace, indeed, is serenity of mind, tranquility of soul, simplicity of heart, the bond of love, the fellowship of charity. It removes hatred, settles wars, restrains wrath, tramples on pride, loves the humble, pacifies the discordant and makes enemies agree. For it is pleasing to everyone. It does not seek what belongs to another or consider anything as its own. It teaches people to love because it does not know how to get angry, or to extol itself or become inflated with pride. It is meek and humble to everyone, possessing rest and tranquility within itself. When the peace of Christ is exercised by a Christian, it is brought to perfection by Christ. If anyone loves it, he will be an heir of God, while anyone who despises it rebels against Christ.

"When our Lord Jesus Christ was returning to the Father, he left his peace to his followers as their inherited good, teaching them and saying, 'My peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you.' Anyone who has received this peace should keep it, and one who has destroyed it should look for it, while anyone who has lost it should seek it. For if anyone is not found with it, he will be disinherited by the Father and deprived of his inheritance. (Sermon 174.1)

Destiny with the Father
Jesus speaks to his disciples about his destination. He is going back to the Father (John 14:28). If his disciples truly love him for who he is - the only begotten Son of the Father, then they will rejoice that Jesus will be reunited with his Father in heaven. Jesus also speaks of his struggle - his passion, suffering and death on the cross. Jesus calls Satan the "ruler of this world" (John 14:30) who seeks to thwart God's plan and to destroy God's anointed one. In the eyes of the world the cross stood for shame, humiliation, and defeat. Jesus went to the cross knowing that it would lead to victory over the powers of sin, Satan, and death. Jesus overcame Satan through his obedience and love for his Father. The cross brought glory to Jesus and to the Father and it is our way to glory as well. In the Cross of Christ we find true peace and reconciliation with God. Do you live in the peace of Jesus Christ?

"Lord Jesus, may your peace be always with me. May no circumstance, trouble, or vexation rob me of the peace which passes all understanding. You, alone, O Lord, are my Peace. May I always reside in that peace by believing your word and by doing your will.

Psalm 145:10-13,21

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the sons of men your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.  The LORD is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Daily Quote from the early church fathers: The Following of Christ, by Augustine of Hippo, 430-543 A.D.

"Come, follow Me, says the Lord. Do you love? He has hastened on, He has flown on ahead. Look and see where. O Christian, don't you know where your Lord has gone? I ask you: Don't you wish to follow Him there? Through trials, insults, the cross, and death. Why do you hesitate? Look, the way has been shown you." (excerpt from Sermon 345,6)


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author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Scripture quotations from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Citation references for quotes from the writings of the early church fathers.
 

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