Posts Tagged John 14: 27

The New Kingdom

Romans 14: 17

The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Jesus has already established his kingdom here in the earth. He called it the Kingdom of God and it is mentioned no less than 51 times in the gospels. It is said that Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God (Luke 8: 1) but what are the characteristics of this kingdom? We get different segments of that answer in the New Testament, especially in the gospels but also in the letters. In today’s verse Paul writes about the values of the kingdom.

I have read many English versions of this verse and in so doing arrive at a much clearer understanding than in reading only this, the New American Standard Version. For example, the New Century Version reads, “In the kingdom of God, eating and drinking are not important. The important things are living right with God, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The picture begins to reveal itself. Paul is defining what has value in the Kingdom of God. The Passion Translation reads, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of rules about food and drink, but is in the realm of the Holy Spirit, filled with righteousness, peace, and joy.” The Kingdom is not all about rules. In the Kingdom what is most important is that we follow God, follow His ways. The Kingdom is not about works of the flesh or self-stylized righteousness. In Jesus’ Kingdom, legalism falls at the feet of love and devotion to God and our fellow human beings; even in devotion and kindness to all of God’s creation including the animals and the earth itself. Further, the Kingdom of God is living in the realm of the Holy Spirit. That is what the kingdom is and in that place there is ever-abiding joy, peace and righteousness.

There is a difficult lesson in this. This verse flies in the face of the law. Sometimes we separate God made law from the man-made laws which has so imprisoned us. The problem here is that there were laws about food which were given by God. Food and drink choices were a major separation between Jews and all the other nations. Now Paul writes that the rules about food are not important in the Kingdom of God. Other laws fall as well because Paul is revealing that living in Christ is the key, not legal adherence to rules of law. Living right with God is righteousness, being in your right place with Him and that trumps law. This teaching would have been a major challenge for the first century church who stood upon the law. It challenges us as well but let us look at another translation.

The God Word Translation brings the image of the Kingdom of God into even greater clarity, “God’s kingdom does not consist of what a person eats or drinks. Rather, God’s kingdom consists of God’s approval and peace, as well as the joy that the Holy Spirit gives.” Do you see that the Kingdom of God is not a work-based realm? The right to live in it is not earned either. Our right standing in God, or living right with God, was purchased by Jesus. When we live in Him and the Spirit rather than in the work of our hands and minds, then we are in the kingdom and to live in the Kingdom means you automatically have God’s approval. You do not have to earn it. You do not have to measure yourself by a book of rules, and you do not need to worry. God is for you. He approves of you just as you are. Isn’t that a refreshing concept? You have favor with God.

Jesus established His kingdom in the Holy Spirit. He came preaching this kingdom which depends upon living in the Spirit and the Spirit living within you. Jesus’ message confounded and infuriated the preachers of his day because membership wasn’t earned and, equally important, because he consistently spoke about us in him and him in us, and his being one with the father, all of which was crazy talk to them. The same is true today, really. Revelation still tends to blow the top off our heads but that is Jesus’ way. As soon as you get a handle on one thing, he stretches you over to the next mountain top. But, truly, it is a fun way to live and we see from this verse that when we take the giant leap of faith to live in and by the Spirit of God, there is complete peace, shalom. Paul also lets us know that if we are not in joy, then we are not deep enough in the Spirit. Joy is in the Spirit of God. Remember that Jesus said he left his peace here for us to live in (John 14: 27). Then he gave us his Spirit. Therefore, it is an easy conclusion to reach that joy and peace are ours in him.

In Him, then is the Kingdom of God. And in the Kingdom there is complete approval, joy and peace. Is that good news? If you have ever felt left out or unaccepted it is time for your joy to come to full measure because in Jesus’ kingdom, the Kingdom of God, you are accepted. It is no longer about the rules but rather about seeking the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind and leaning into him daily.

Guarded Treasure

John 14: 27

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you.

Jesus was leaving planet earth. He told his disciples what was to come. Can you even imagine how distraught they must have been? I place myself in their shoes and it seems devastating. Not only were they about to lose their leader, but also their best friend and even beyond that, their Lord. He was everything to them, truly. Then he announced he was leaving. Oh, heart of woe!

Jesus knew the anguish of their souls. I am sure he was feeling sorrow as well and probably concern for them. He gave them something to soothe their souls, a promise for their well-being. He told them that he was going to leave his peace here for them. That would have been a profound statement to them because they had witnessed him remain cool under tremendous pressure. They knew his peace was special.

This same peace is available to us today. He left his peace here on the earth for whoever wishes it or needs it. In his peace is such tranquility. It literally has calming, restorative breath in it. It enables us to face trying situations without raising our blood pressure. In his peace we have the ability to face all manner of challenging circumstances while remaining in calm confidence instead of dread and panic.

You can see that it is very precious. One of the things our heavenly Father told me in my journaling is that the devil wants to steal this peace from me. Father encouraged me to resist the devil’s attempts to steal my peace, that is the peace which Jesus gave me. I see how valuable it is and that is was a key component in Jesus’ last days. He knew each one of us would need his help on a daily basis and his peace was the treasure he gave. The Father showed me that this gift should be guarded.

Don’t let anyone have what Jesus has given you, whether that be his peace, freedom, salvation, acceptance, redemption, etc. Why should I give some idiot on the freeway the power to steal the peace Jesus gave me? What stressor is important enough to you to allow it to steal your peace? There is nothing that is worth it. Hang on to this valuable treasure from Jesus. Peace is health, it is feeling good. Don’t let it go!

Peace, Peace

Matthew 10: 13

If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.

Jesus talked about peace or blessed people with peace quite a number of times. Before he left the earth he even made a point of leaving his peace here with us (John 14: 27). What is so compelling about peace that caused him to frequently say, “Go in peace” or “peace be with you?” We have to dig into our Hebrew roots to get an appreciation of this peace which Jesus speaks of and even directs us to bless others with.

The Hebrew word is Shalom, and it is very rich with many shades of meaning. The simplest way to describe the Jewish idea of peace is wholeness in every area of life, or I have heard others say, “nothing missing, nothing broken.” This necessarily means that your health is not broken, your finances are whole, your relationships fruitful, your spirit vital, and every other facet of life you can think of functions perfectly. When Jesus, or any other Jew, says “peace” to you, they have spoken a blessing which covers every aspect of your life. Now, consider today’s verse. Does it take on more meaning?

Jesus intimates in this passage that we have the right and perhaps even the obligation to speak a blessing of peace on the households of others. This may manifest in you praying peace as you enter a friend’s house. Maybe you are invited to attend a party or even a Bible Study at someone’s house. You can give that home YOUR blessing of peace. In so doing, you are speaking wholeness to that household – nothing missing, nothing broken. That is a powerful privilege the Lord Jesus has given us. So, think of that as you visit people’s homes and maybe also stop at your own front door and speak “Peace.”

Unshakable Love

Isaiah 54: 10

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says the Lord who has compassion on you.

You’ve got to love this verse. Some of you are going through challenges right now so this must be really good news for you. No matter how rough things get, even if there is a calamity so great that the mountains are reduced to rubble; even if the hills quake, you will remain in God’s loving embrace where He can look after you. No matter how dire the situation, God’s love will not be shaken. In your loneliest of times, in the most stressful situations, the Lord our God, loves you. His devotion to you cannot be shaken despite the circumstances. Even when you are paying Him no attention, He is alert and watching over you. He awaits your return.

This verse says that no matter what, His lovingkindness will not be removed from you. That means there is no power strong enough, no situation dire enough to shake His love from you. There is no darkness deep enough or pain strong enough to separate you from His love. The only power in this earth or beyond that can separate you from the love of God is you. As long as you are steadfast and do not reject Him, then you can trust that His love and affection are present for current circumstance.

Did you know that Father has a covenant of peace? It goes back to the beginning of time however, it was fulfilled in the person of Jesus, our Messiah. Jesus is the prince of peace so as long as you are holding on tightly to him, no one can steal your peace. Sometimes you just have to whisper his name to remind yourself that no power or person has authority over the peace Jesus left for you. You may have to write out John 14: 27 on a 3 X 5 card and place it in a prominent location while you are working through the challenge.

Be reminded, daily, that nothing can remove Dad’s love from you nor steal the peace pact He has with you. Keep today’s verse in front of you and realize there is not one moment of any day that the Father does not love you with all He is. His devotion to you is larger than the universe and it is a source of great strength. Be safe and secure in the absolute knowledge that your Father loves you and has provided peace for you. Let Him love you and hold you in His safety.

Fertile Desert

Isaiah 32: 16 -18

The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.

Glory! Hallelujah! Does this strike you as good news? Or, perhaps, great news! I can even sweeten this by telling you when this is to happen. This is for you today.

The problem with many Old Testament verses is that people stumble over the timing. That is understandable. I will tell you that most of them are fulfilled in Jesus if you ever have doubt. The great thing about today’s verse is that Isaiah actually told us when this would become a reality. In verse 15 he disclosed that this change in the environment, this change in the world would come when “the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high.” Yahoo!

Jesus promised us another. In fact, he said it was better for us that he leave earth so that he could send the helper (John 16: 7). He told his disciples not to leave Jerusalem until they received that which was promised, or in other words, the Holy Spirit (Acts 1: 4 – 5). Then, on the day of Pentecost, the promise was fulfilled and the Holy Spirit was poured out from on high. You and I are not living in the time of which Isaiah spoke. This prophecy is for our time. We should take great joy in this good news.

Isaiah saw that because of the coming of the Holy Spirit we could live in peace and righteousness. This concept is very in keeping with other New Testament text. Paul wrote that we have become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5: 21) and did you know that Jesus is the Prince of Peace? Additionally, when he left earth, he left us his peace (John 14: 27). Increasingly, we are seeing all of the pieces fitting together. It shouldn’t be any surprise, though, because all of this was part of God’s master plan. He knew when He whispered in Isaiah’s ear that this day would come and that what He told Isaiah would be fulfilled in our sight.

There is a key to unlocking all of this though. The key is the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that he is the “Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you” (John 14: 17). It is the “in you” piece that is so revolutionary. The disciples knew of the Holy Spirit but Jesus was telling them that when he went away and sent the outpouring of the Spirit, then the Spirit would come to not only live with us but in us. This continuing presence of the Holy Spirit is a game changer. The sad truth, though, is that it is only a game changer for those who recognize the truth and embrace it. He was sent as our helper so we have to let him do his job.

In him is this peace, confidence, righteous enjoyment and all of the other great and wonderful things that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have worked to bring us. Their plan installs each of them in our lives as partners. Isaiah saw the desert turned into a fertile field. That desert is our lives and hearts. They have been renewed in Christ and we have a joyous and victorious reality to live.

Perfect Peace

Isaiah 26: 3               (NIV)

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

There are three elements to this verse. First perfect peace, second steadfastness and third trust. Perfect peace is the conclusion – that is where we want to arrive. We find that the way to that perfect peace is through steadfastness and trust.

So, what is steadfastness? The Tree of Life version reads, “You keep in perfect peace one whose mind is stayed on You.” People who keep their mind on God are kept in perfect peace. For some of us it would be enough to taste perfect peace every now and again but these people, those who keep their thoughts with God, abide in perfect peace. Honestly, though, it is no big surprise that perfect peace is in God. Jesus said that one of the things he left for us was his peace (John 14: 27). How can we not be in peace when we keep our thought lives enveloped in God? Jesus is the Prince of Peace. So, when we keep ourselves, our minds and our thoughts on God; when we are steadfast about what we let our minds meditate on then we will abide in that perfect peace.

Isaiah also revealed that keeping our mind stayed on God produces trust in Him and that trust leads to perfect peace. We might also speculate that the more we trust God, the more we do think about Him and about His way of perceiving things. Of course we experience more peace as our trust in Him increases. The more we keep our minds on Him and learn of Him, the more we trust Him. Then our peace increases.

So, it might be fair to say that in Him is perfect peace so that our only task, really is just to remain in Him. When we think about Him instead of thinking about the latest junk we heard on the news, then it is much easier to abide in peace. He is confidence and assurance. Think on Him instead of thinking on the things of the world and have joy and peace, perfect peace.

Peace, Sweet Peace

John 20: 21

Jesus therefore said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

Jesus appeared to his disciples after his crucifixion and ascension. First of all, how cool is that? I would like to have been there. Today’s verse comes from one of those visits. When he first appeared to them he said, “Peace be with you” (v. 19) and showed them the holes in his hands. The scripture says that then the disciples rejoiced. Well, I guess so. So then he said again, “Peace be with you” before he launched into what he wanted to say to them. 

One of Jesus’ many missions in coming to earth was to bring us peace. He is called the Prince of Peace because that is one of his anointings. Jesus spoke the same kind of message to his disciples as he was preparing them for his departure. He told them, “I go away and I will come to you … I go to the Father” (John 14: 28). He told them that his time was at an end but before he revealed the end he said to them, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you” (John 14: 27). 

You see, Jesus is always, and I do mean always, sending us his peace. This is important to know because there is always peace where Jesus is. If you are entering a business deal and there is not peace, then you can bet Jesus isn’t in it. If you say something and peace flies from you, then you might want to rephrase or apologize. Even in decision making, you can follow peace and if you don’t have peace, wait until you do. There may well be a third option that you aren’t considering.

Also, when you are in difficult times, pursue peace. Let Jesus come in and minister peace to your heart. He is the author and thus the source of peace. If you are in trials or your heart is challenged then he is that peace that you need. Seek him and find peace.