Imagine – it’s your birthday. You’ve been wanting a certain something. You’ve dropped all of the perfect hints for the last six months. There is no doubt about what you really want.
The box is set before you. It is the exact size. It doesn’t weigh too much or too little. It shakes just right. You just know that all of the thinly-veiled hints have hit the mark.
Your own cleverness doesn’t even spoil your excitement because you really want this gift. In fact, your cleverness of having figured it out just fuels your eagerness to tear through the wrapping.
That’s kind of what is happening in today’s passage.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 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.John 14:25-27
The ancient Jews – which includes the disciples – were under foreign rule and had been for a long time. They believed that the Messiah had come to conquer evil – figuratively but also literally by toppling these Roman oppressors. The disciples are excited to be a part of this war effort. Yet, Jesus, the Messiah, had not engaged in the battle the way that the disciples had anticipated.
Almost as quickly as Jesus, the Messiah, arrived on the scene, he is about to depart. Now, the disciples still hadn’t fully comprehended the concept of Jesus’ leaving. Yet, they are listening intently as Jesus unwraps for them a gift that he will leave so that they will be able to carry on the mission when he is gone.
The ”war heroes” are expecting Jesus to unwrap a weapon. A sword. A missile. A stick. Something. Whatever it is, it will be the perfect weapon they will need to overthrow the oppressors in his absence. So, you can just imagine the looks on their faces when Jesus unwraps peace.
That’s the weapon that Jesus is leaving behind.
What are we supposed to do with this?
We’re at war. We’ve received our draft notices. We’re standing face-to-face with the Enemy, and You’ve handed us peace.
That’s it? That’s all You’ve got?
And Jesus is telling them and us – “I do not give as the world gives.”
Dear Father, thank you for the weapon of “peace”. Not just any peace, but YOUR peace. The peace that surpasses my understanding. The peace that runs counter to what this world gives. The peace that quiets our souls when it appears that evil is getting the upper hand. The peace that beckons us to set aside irrational anger. The peace that commands us into action in the face of unrighteousness. The peace that guarantees that justice will prevail. The peace that roars evil into submission. The peace that whispers, “she is with me, and one day, you will be too.” This we pray through your Son, Jesus. Amen!