John 16:25-31 “The Peace of Jesus”
Today is Good Friday. We call it Good Friday, but the disciples didn’t experience it as a good day at all. In fact, it was the hardest, darkest, most awful day in history. It was the day that God died. For the disciples, it was the day their hopes and dreams were dashed to the ground, the day their faith was tested and found wanting, the day their beloved master and teacher was condemned as a criminal and crucified, hung naked on a cross in the most torturous form of capital punishment known to man. No, beloved, the disciples saw nothing good about the first good Friday while they were going through it. It was a day when they needed supernatural peace.
Have you ever felt the need for peace? Have you ever felt that your life was falling apart? I have felt that way many times. But this isn’t about me. It is about Jesus. Perhaps the most important question we can ask is this, was Jesus at peace on that terrible Friday? Because if he wasn’t then he has no real peace to give us when life falls apart. But if he had peace while being falsely accused, while being whipped and made fun of, while being betrayed by one of his close friends, denied by another, and abandoned by them all, while being crowned with thorns, whipped, and nailed to a cross. If Jesus was at peace during this awful day, then he can truly offer us His peace and it will be enough no matter what trial we may face.
Jesus did offered his disciples peace before that terrible Friday that they might be able to get through it. Listen to Jesus words in…
“I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father.In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf;for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Is. 40:8 ESV
Let us pray…
Jesus knew what was coming. He knew about terrible Friday before it arrived. And he understood that it would be a very bad day for the disciples. At least, while they lived through it! So Jesus offered them comfort in advance.
Jesus began by assuring the disciples that he would teach them plainly about God the Father. The peace of God would only be known by those who sit under the teachings of Jesus about the Father. He did not fully explain all these things to them until after that Terrible Friday, after he rose from the dead. But we have access to those teachings. They are in the remainder of the New Testament. We find peace in the Word of God.
Jesus then assures the disciples that in that day they would ask the Father in Jesus name and would receive from the Father directly. Jesus clarified that we would not have to pray to Jesus who would pass on our request to the Father. For God the Father loves all who love Jesus and believe that he came from God. Rather, we could ask the Father for things directly, in the name of Jesus. For God the Father loves us. And what is it we are to ask of the Father in the name of Jesus? Peace. For Jesus says that he has told us these things that we might have peace. Not world peace, for he says we will have trouble in this world, but the peace of God in our hearts.
Only those who receive Jesus Christ have access to the Father. Only those who receive Christ have the peace of God. For Christ knew the peace of God even when he was on the cross. No, he was not at peace the whole time. He experienced the full wrath of God. He cried out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” It is a phrase from Psalm 22:2 which Jesus cried in John 19:16 while he was experiencing the wrath of God against our sin. But before the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus, he had enough peace to ask the father to forgive those who were crucifying him in Luke 23:34, and afterward, Jesus knew the peace of God when he said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’ in Luke 23:46. So Jesus knew the peace of God even when He was dying on the cross, despised by the world, in total agony. I don’t know about you, but I want that peace!
Jesus tells us more about how we can have the peace of God. Jesus tells us that he came from the Father in John 16:28. The disciples could take comfort in this fact, Jesus came from the Father and was returning to the Father. He would return after his death and resurrection. The death of Jesus Christ would not be the end of the story! If only the disciples understood what he was saying! Then they would not have had to be afraid when the Romans arrested Jesus! They would not have had to run away and hide on that terrible Friday!
So the disciples replied to Jesus. They said that they believed in him, that they heard him plainly and that they understood his message. They knew that Jesus had come from God, but they did not yet understand. So Jesus replied, ‘Do you now believe?’ He prophesied that they would scatter, that they would not stand with him on that terrible Friday, that their belief would be shaken. Yet when they abandoned Jesus, he would not be alone. For God the Father would be with him. Ah, this is the source of Jesus’ peace. God was with him. Even when he was betrayed. Even when his friend Peter denied knowing him. Even when the disciples ran away and Jesus was surrounded with mockers, accusers, and tormentors. He was not alone, for God the Father was with Him.
Jesus told the disciples all these things for one reason, that they might find peace in Him. Their peace would not be in the world. It would not be found in a steady job, a nice house, or a happy family. All these things are fragile, they are temporary, and they can be taken away. Their peace would be in Jesus Christ. He told us in verse 31 that in this world we would have tribulation. But that we can take heart for He has overcome the world. Why is this comforting? What peace is this which Jesus offers to us?
Beloved, when you face trials and tribulation, whether because of your own sins or the sins of someone else, you can find peace in Jesus Christ. The disciples would face many trials in their lives. Not only on terrible Friday, but also after Jesus was raised from the dead. You can read about those trials in the book of Acts. Yet they did not face those trials alone. They did not understand what was happening on terrible Friday. But Jesus was paying the price for our sins that we might have peace with God. And when we have peace with God, we too overcome the world with all its tribulations. Now that makes terrible Friday a very Good Friday, for on that terrible day, our sins were paid for. And because of the sacrifice Christ made for you and for me, we can have peace with God. This is why Paul could write in II Thessalonians 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” Let us pray.