One thing we all long for is peace. It may be peace in our relationships, peace from in-fighting at work, peace in the world especially if we are living in a war-torn area, and that inner peace which eludes us despite having achieved our goals. Our frenetic lifestyles can’t be blamed. The Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, wrote of this when he said, “Peace and safety then sudden destruction.” (Jer 6:14).
Britain’s Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, returned triumphant after signing the Anglo-German Munich Agreement in 1938 declaring, ”Peace for our time.” Less than a year later, Hitler broke the Agreement when he invaded Poland, and started World War 2.
In Matthew’s Gospel chapter 24:6-8, he records what our Lord Jesus Christ prophesied about world peace in the last days. ”And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
Doesn’t this sound like the times in which we are living? So, what can we do about it? Can we simply say, “We can’t do anything about it. Whatever will be will be! Let’s eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!”
Or, if we are Christians, shouldn’t we turn to our Lord Jesus Christ, and see what he has to say about the beginning of sorrows in John’s Gospel? (Jn 14:1-3). Here he speaks of peace in times or tumult. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
In the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, there are a great number of verses about peace: either those expressed by individuals or attempts at defining the word.
It is interesting to consider two occasions on which Jesus discussed peace. They are found in the apostle John’s Gospel. Jesus was not speaking about world peace, but about the inner peace, peace to our souls, that only he can give – even if we find ourselves in parts of the world in which Christians face persecution or even martyrdom.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (Jn 14:27).
“These things have I spoken unto you, that ye night have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” )Jn 16:33).
Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift!