Christ Provides Me with Perfect Peace

Christ Provides Me with Perfect Peace

John 14:27

We continue our reflection upon Luther’s seal and the Scriptural truths that it illustrates.  Today we focus in on the white rose and the blue background.  In Luther’s letter to Lazarus Sprengler referring to this aspect of the seal Luther wrote: ‘Such a heart (which we looked at last week), such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace.  In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose for his faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John14:17).  That is why the rose should be white not red, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels (Matthew 28:3; John 20:12).  Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is the beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed.”

The words from Scripture that will help us to understand this second aspect of Luther’s seal are found in John 14:27.  Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”

The situation in which Jesus speaks these words is significant.  Jesus and His disciples are gathered in the Upper Room just prior to Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.  Jesus has told His disciples that His time with them is almost over.  They are frightened and confused.  Yet, Jesus speaks of leaving them with a special peace, a peace not known to the world, but a peace that can calm their troubled hearts and still their fears.

Surely this peace of which Jesus speaks is something that would be well for us to possess.  After all, this world we live in is in utter chaos.  There are threats of nuclear war.  Hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanoes have left many people with nothing.  There are shootings and acts of terrorism.  Many marriages are ending in divorce and there is disunity even within the family of God.  There is great confusion and unrest all around us.  Yet, Jesus still speaks of peace.

This peace has as its source Jesus Himself.  Jesus is the source of peace.  “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.”

Jesus is the source of true peace, because He is the only one that can deal with the real cause of unrest, which is sin.  Adam and Eve lived in harmony with God and each other until sin entered the world.  Since that time man has known unrest and dissatisfaction.  His conscience tells him that he is not right with his Creator, but he has no idea how to rectify it.  This describes Luther in his early years as he knew the guilt of sin, but could not ease that guilt by acts of self-denial or acts of hard labor.  Nothing he did brought him a peace of heart and mind.

Luther knew no peace until he was able to read a Bible and learn that peace with God is not something you earn, but it is something granted you through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Jesus grants us peace through His death and resurrection.  The prophet Isaiah declared: “Christ was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 9:6).  This is why Jesus is called the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  Jesus died on the cross for our sins.  He paid the penalty for all our wrongdoing and He paid it in full.  We are now declared justified, not because we are innocent of sin, but because Jesus paid for our sins in full.  Hence, Luther has the cross in the middle of the white rose for the source of true peace is found only in Christ.

Jesus blesses us with this peace through His Word and Sacraments.  God’s Word and Sacraments are our spiritual fuel pumps.  Just like we have to fill up our cars at a gas station to keep them going, Christ refreshes, renews, and fills us with His peace every time we stop to hear His Word and be blessed through His Sacraments.  For instance, in our receiving of the Lord’s Supper that we are renewed and refreshed with the forgiveness of sins as Jesus says to us: “This is My body given for you.  This is My blood shed for you for the remission of sins.”  Every time we receive the Lord’s Supper we can depart from His table singing the song of Simeon: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your Word” (Luke 2:29).

Our text reminds us that this peace of Jesus blossoms in a world of unrest.  Luther noted that the rose is white because it is a holy peace unlike the peace that the world seeks to give us.

The world’s peace is centered on outward experiences.  When we speak of peace from the human perspective, we speak of no wars and rumors of wars; marriages that are lived out happily ever after; a lifestyle where there is plenty of money and pleasure to do all that one wants to do.  This description of peace is a fairy tale type of peace.  It is superficial and comes and goes as circumstances in life change.

The peace Jesus gives is lasting and enduring no matter what situations in life one is experiencing.  This is the case because while worldly peace is situational, God’s peace is founded in Christ.  The peace that Jesus gives begins and ends with Him.  It is founded on the fact that Jesus Who died to pay for our sins rose again from the grave.  He ascended into heaven and lives and reigns in behalf of His people.  Sin is paid, death is conquered, and Satan is defeated.  In Jesus we are a victorious people.

This, of course, does not mean we will not have any trials and troubles, hardships and persecutions in our lives.  When Jesus speaks of giving us peace it is not as the world gives.  That is to say, Jesus’ peace is not centered on circumstances, but on His saving grace.  When Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you,” he is not talking about us never having any external problems.  Rather He speaks of a peace that dwells within us even through the problems of life.

Jesus has told us there will be wars and rumors of wars.  He has spoken of how families will be divided because of Him.  He even noted that there would be divisions within the church.  In spite of that all, Jesus says we can have peace.

We can have “the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding guarding our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).  In Jesus we are assured that “all things will work out for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:18).  God through Paul tells us: “In all things we are more than conquers through Him Who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).  The peace God gives us in Christ is eternal.

It is this peace can lead us to be bold in our testimony and witness for Christ.  This is what happened to the disciples after Pentecost.  They became bold in testifying of Christ Jesus even when it meant imprisonment or death.  It is this peace of Christ that led Luther to stand up to those who called for him to denounce all the Biblical truths that he had stated during the Reformation.  He said to them: “I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the council, because it is as clear as noonday that they have fallen into error an even into glaring inconsistency with themselves.  If, then, I am not convinced by proof from Holy Scripture, or by cogent reasons, if I am not satisfied by the very text I have cited, and if my judgment is not in this way brought into subjection to God’s Word, I neither can nor will retract anything; for it cannot be either safe or honest for a Christian to speak against his conscience.  Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise; God help me” (Imperial Diet of Worms, 18 April 1521).   It is this peace that is also meant to blossom in our lives like a rose and lead us to be bold in our testimony and witness for Christ.

Luther concludes his description of God’s peace by noting that this white rose stands in a sky-blue field.  This illustrates that the peace of Christ given us on earth is a foretaste of the peace that awaits us in heaven.  Because we are saved in Christ we need not fear death nor the grave for “there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”(Romans 8:1)  “Whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Jesus, Who is the only true source of true peace, blesses us with His peace as He surrounds us with His Word and Sacraments giving us a foretaste of the bliss that awaits us in heaven.  Looking at Luther’s seal let us keep in mind these words of our Lord found in Isaiah 26:3-4: “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.”  Amen.

 

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