A New Spirit of Peace
John 14:15-18, 25-27
For centuries Christians have turned to John 14 for strength and assurance and peace—and Jesus delivers! He reiterates the new commandment he has given his disciples—to love others as he has loved them. He gently clarifies how his presence will remain with his disciples. Jesus assures them of the imminent arrival of an empowering gift—the “Advocate” or “Helper” or “Counselor.”
Several times in his “farewell address,” he focuses on the gift of peace that God will give. What kind of “peace” is this? Well, it is not the kind the world offers. The world offers a seductive “peace” that is based on the temporary success of one force over another—whether it is a person, country, ideals, status, wealth, or power. The peace of God passes these kinds of understandings.
With its roots in the First Testament, “peace” is profoundly more than a greeting. Instead, it is a special and significant gift from God. In John’s Gospel, the term is often equated with light, life, joy or truth. God’s peace is not defined by the absence of something—war, strife, hardship, conflict—but it is a positive, empowering presence. The peace Jesus gives to us through the Holy Spirit is more than we can ever imagine.
And then Jesus reminds the disciples—and us—that there will be ongoing reminders about this reminder! The Spirit will help those who follow Jesus remember everything he has already taught them. Over and over, again and again, time after time, he reinforces what will take place. As we gather ‘round the Table again this weekend, we will remember and give thanks for God’s gift of peace.