Monday, November 23, 2009

PEACE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT

On whom does Jesus bestow his peace? You may think, “I’m not worthy of living in Christ’s peace. I have too many struggles in my life. My faith is so weak.”

You would do well to consider the men to whom Jesus first gave his peace. None of them was worthy, and none had a right to it.

Think about Peter. Jesus was about to bestow his peace on a minister of the gospel who would soon be spewing out cursings. Peter was zealous in his love for Christ, but he was also going to deny him.

Then there was James and his brother John, men with a competitive spirit, always seeking to be recognized. They asked to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand when he ascended to his throne in glory.

The other disciples were no more righteous. They simmered with anger at James and John for trying to upstage them. There was Thomas, a man of God who was given to doubt. All of the disciples were so lacking in faith, it amazed and stressed Jesus. Indeed, in Christ’s most troubling hour, they would all forsake him and flee. Even after the Resurrection, when the word spread that “Jesus is risen,” the disciples were slow to believe.

But there’s even more. These were also confused men. They did not understand the ways of the Lord. His parables confused them. After the Crucifixion, they lost any sense of unity they had, scattering in all directions.

What a picture: These men were full of fear, unbelief, disunity, sorrow, confusion, competitiveness, pride. Yet it was to these same troubled servants that Jesus said, “I am going to give you my peace.”

The disciples weren’t chosen because they were good or righteous; that much is clear. Nor was it because they had talent or abilities. They were fishermen and day laborers, meek and lowly. Christ called and chose the disciples because he saw something in their hearts. As he looked into them, he knew each one would submit to the Holy Spirit. At this point, all that the disciples had was a promise from Christ of his peace. The fullness of that peace was yet to be given to them, at Pentecost. That’s when the Holy Spirit would come and dwell in them. We receive the peace of Christ from the Holy Spirit. This peace comes to us as the Spirit reveals Christ to us. The more of Jesus you want, the more the Spirit will show you of him—and the more of Christ’s actual peace you will have.