Shalom! John 14:25-31Introduction: The recent presidential debate focused on foreign policy which in itself is enough to remind us that the world is a decidedly un-peaceful place. The mid-east, Israel in particular, is a key topic of discussion and dispute. Ironically, “Jerusalem,” at the center of it all, actually means “City of Peace”! In modern Hebrew the term “Shalom” is used as a simple greeting or farewell, “hello” and “good-bye,” with no consideration of a deeper, biblical meaning. Paul used it (in Greek translation) in many of his letters, “Grace to you, and peace…” As the term is used in the Bible it is looking toward that “peace” that we can experience in our new life through faith in Christ. If we look at the news and consider the world today, it would be easy to conclude that “peace” has alluded us. But that observation is nothing new. This week our Wednesday night devotional was on Psalm 10. It begins with a cry of pain and frustration from the psalmist at He looks out at the apparent injustice in the world: “Why do You stand afar off, O LORD? Why do You hide in times of trouble?” (Ps 10:1). Does it sometimes seem that way?
The Big Idea: Taking God at His Word is the Way to peace and real joy in a hurting world.I. Jesus offers truth: He taught the disciples while He was with them knowing that the Holy Spirit would reinforce and continue His teaching after His departure (14:25-26). There was a television series named “House” that portrayed a character with a very abrasive personality. He had a skeptical view of people in general and one of his oft repeated lines was “Everybody lies!” You might feel that way during this political season as well. After the debates there is always a discussion of who did more twisting of the truth (or outright lying!) in terms of the facts. “Fact checking” is necessary because people lie! The problem is, even the “fact checkers” twist what was said to fit their own agendas. Pilate will ask Jesus, “What is truth?” The reader of John knows the answer: Jesus is. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Though humans will fail us, His word is true, it’s absolutely reliable.
Jesus was the Word incarnate.He is truth. The idea that God would reveal Himself to humans was evident from the beginning. God walked with Adam in the Garden and spoke to him. He used language to communicate in a way that humankind could understand and relate to. He called Abraham and spoke to the patriarchs, he revealed Himself to Moses, first in the burning bush and continually as He brought His word to the people. He spoke to the people through prophets who called them back to covenant faithfulness. Then finally, as the writer to the Hebrews says, “God spoke in times past to the fathers through the prophets has in these last days spoken in [his] Son” (Heb 1:1). The God who is, has spoken, and His Word is absolute truth (In contrast to humans who will stretch the truth, bend the truth, twist the truth, hide the truth, shade the truth… you get the idea!).
Jesus, the One who is the Truth, spoke truth to his followers.The disciples didn’t necessarily take extensive notes! But the Holy Spirit would remind them of Jesus’ words. I believe we have to be careful about what this is saying. It is not a promise of “on going revelation.” The Holy Spirit would remind the disciples of what Jesus taught, bringing His words, supernaturally, to their remembrance. He would lead them into His truth as they taught the early church and proclaimed the gospel and wrote the documents that would become our New Testament. The writers were inspired, so the documents they wrote were the Word of God. We read for example in 2 Pet 1:21
“…for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved (carried along) by the Holy Spirit.”Again Paul said in 2 Tim 3:16-17
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”What we have in the Bible is the very Word of God. True, absolutely reliable, trustworthy. GOD has spoken! Yet so many fail to even hear what He has said. In our country, many professing Christians take the Bible for granted and hardly pick it up except on Sunday. One of the biggest excuses for not reading the Bible is the people think its too difficult, they can never remember anything they read. I like the response of one pastor: “If you run water into a sieve you don’t collect much water, but at least you wind up with a clean sieve!” John Wesley once wrote “…God himself has condescended to teach us the way. He has written it down in a book. O give me that Book! At any price, give me the book of God!” That should be our attitude! After all, taking God at His Word is the Way to peace and real joy in a hurting world.
II. Jesus offers peace in a troubled world (14:27).John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jesus started this chapter with the admonition, “Let not your heart be troubled…” Here He tells us that rather than the anxiety that could so easily overwhelm us, and the fear that could effectively paralyze us, He offers us peace, HIS peace. One of the titles He was given by the prophet Isaiah was “Prince of Peace.” Yet there is so much turmoil in this world – war – earthquakes – hurricanes – famine and sickness – peace? Ron Hodgecraft told this story:
“The occasion was a city-wide art contest. They were told to paint paintings entitled "Peace." While the judges were understandably attracted to this beautiful pastural scene that a local painter had painted. It was a green pasture. It was the puffy white clouds and the beautiful blue sky and a little boy going by with a fishing pole over his shoulder and a quiet brook and some birds. That got second place. First place - well, the picture was of an angry, stormy day at the sea shore as the ocean was beating against the cliffs and the cliffs were stark and dark because of the darkness of the storm. The sky in this painting was angry and black, green and purple. You had to look twice to figure out what in world this had to do with peace. But if you looked halfway up the cliff these little baby birds were nestled underneath the wing of their mother, and they were sleeping totally oblivious to the storm that was howling all around them.”He is our shelter in times of storm. It’s not that God promises us an absence of turmoil, conflict, or hardship in this life. But He does promise peace, even in the midst of storm and tempest, peace that passes understanding. Peace that comes from the presence of the Prince of Peace in our lives. It begins by believing God, taking Him at His Word. That is the Way to peace and real joy in a hurting world.
III. Jesus offers Joy: Jesus’ return to the Father (and promised return for us!) should be cause for Joy (14:28).John 14:28 "You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, 'I am going to the Father,' for My Father is greater than I.” We have a couple of reasons for rejoicing here:
First, Jesus is now at the Father’s right hand.He is our Savior, and our mediator. John put it this way in his first letter: 1 John 1:4 “And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” Then again in 1 John 2:1 we read, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” He is there, on our behalf, at the Father’s right hand.
He also promises here that He is returning.That’s not a threat, it’s a promise! He said in John 14:28 “You have heard Me say to you, 'I am going away and coming back to you.' If you loved Me, you would rejoice…” Salvation is motive for rejoicing to be sure – but the promise that God is sovereign and that His plan is unfolding on the stage of human history is in itself motive for thanksgiving. The psalmist said, in Psalm 30:5 “…Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” A little further on in this discourse in John we’ll read in John 16:20, “…that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.” The promise of His presence, His place at the Father’s right hand interceding for us, and assurance that He is returning is cause for rejoicing! Taking God at His Word is the Way to peace and real joy in a hurting world.
IV. Jesus gives us a reasonable basis for faith (14:29).John 14:29 says "And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.” Herman Bavinck’s theology in English translation is called “Our Reasonable Faith,” and that title reflects the truth that God has not called us to blind, baseless trust. He has revealed himself in history. He has given us a basis for our trust. By predicting his betrayal, death, resurrection, and the pouring out of the Spirit, He gave His disciples a reason to believe: when these things began to be fulfilled, they could know that He was who He claimed to be. In the OT the Jews were not to believe everyone who claimed to speak for God. Dt 18:22,
"…when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”Jesus is saying that his predictions concerning his betrayal, arrest, being denied, crucified, and resurrected would serve as evidence that He could be trusted, that His Word (and His promises!) are true. Since these things happened exactly as He said they served to confirm his identity. And so we can believe Him, and taking God at His Word is the Way to peace and real joy in a hurting world.
V. Jesus modeled obedience as He fulfilled the Father’s plan (14:30-31).Jn 14:30-31 30 "I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31 "But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.” Jesus said that if we love Him, we’ll keep His commandments. He modeled obedience while showing His love for the Father (and for us) by his willingly carrying out the Father’s plan. He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death even death on the cross.
What is God saying to me in this passage?Taking God at His Word is the Way to peace and real joy in a hurting world.
What would God have me to do in response to this passage?Are you in the Word? If not, why not? Do you believe it is God’s Word? Do you believe it is true? Do you trust that it is God’s map, showing the way? We are nearing the end of the year and some of you have been reading along with us in going through the entire Bible in 2012. But its never to late to start. The key is to be in the Word daily. To read the Bible systematically. The God who made you wants you to know Him, to trust Him, and to experience the peace and joy He designed you for. Think about that! Amen.