"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." (John 14:27) The Spirit of God, the Helper, dwells with us. He is sovereign over all and He loves us, so how could we worry about anything in this world? The peace of God should rest on those who trust Him.
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John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." Let me pray with you guys.
Lord, I thank you for how we can dip into real-world situations, whether we find them on the news channels in Cleveland or around America's finest events in Boston or in our own homes, and we can wrestle with the brokenness that is in this world. It causes us to ask great questions. It causes us to wonder what you meant when you said you came to bring us peace, that you were going to leave us your peace, and that we weren't to be troubled or fearful.
I pray this morning that you would open the eyes of our hearts, that we might see you, that we would understand, that we could then comfort others with the comfort with which we have been comforted. I thank you for the gift of the arts that helps us to not just make this some academic exercise, but we are saying, "Okay, yeah. What are you going to do with that? What about all that?"
Lord, I pray especially for those folks who didn't need to walk in here today and see some drama played out on stage, because their lives are that drama. Their wombs are barren. Their children, whom they have been given, have died early deaths. Their spouses with whom they were to raise those kids have broken vows. There is anything but peace in their lives, as the world understands it. I pray this morning you would help us understand a greater peace, understand John 14, understand Jesus, understand the gospel. Would you use this time now to usher us into that freedom? In Christ's name, amen.
We are in John 14. We've been looking at this amazing section where Jesus is moving toward the cross. There is panic among his friends and followers. They're concerned and confused with what he's doing, what he has said, how he's going to accomplish all he has told them he was here to accomplish. They want answers, and he's trying to give them to them. Let me encourage you. They're not even able to come up with the answers when he's giving them to them.
Jesus even comforts them with the fact that, "Right now you're so overwhelmed with the pathos of this moment, the suffering of this moment, that you need to know when I go away I'm going to give you a gift. That gift is the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes, he will bring all things into remembrance. He will teach you all things. He'll go back over this with you.
He'll give you my Word, my perfect inspired infallible Word, that you might meditate on it. He will dwell in you, convict you, remind you, and whisper it to you. I'm not going to leave you alone. I understand right now, in the midst of this moment, you can't quite get there, but do not leave me. Abide with me. Stay near me, and you will have peace."
Well, how is that so? Let me read some of the Scripture with you. Right here, again, in John, chapter 14, verse 1, this is what it says. It starts the entire section: "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me." John 14:27, I already quoted for you: "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." A couple of chapters later he's going to say this: "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace…"
"In the world, you're going to have bombs at the end of marathons. In the world, you're going to have crazy men who abduct children. In the world, you're going to have barren wombs, young teenage moms, and 20-year-old moms who say they want to give their kid up for adoption, and then they don't give that kid up for adoption. In the world you're going to have kids I do give to you, and they die of cancer when they're 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 or 4 years old. In this world, hearts are going to give themselves to you, and they're going to betray you and leave you."
"In the world you have tribulation, but take [heart] ; I have overcome the world." This idea is the entire point of Jesus coming. It's the entire purpose of the gospel of John. The purpose of the gospel is peace. The product of the gospel is peace. It's what should be there. If peace is not in our lives, we are not living in light of the gospel.
Let me say this. In the presence of the Father, in the presence of the gospel, in the presence of the Son, in the presence of the Spirit, is peace. If peace does not define your life, you are not living in relationship with, abiding with, paying attention to, the Father, the Son, the Spirit, and the gospel. Anxiety and the presence of God do not go together. Anxiety and this world do go together.
The purpose of this entire gospel, the purpose of what John is writing, the things the Holy Spirit brought to remembrance to John some 60 years later than the event we're studying today, the night Jesus was betrayed… The Holy Spirit brought John right back to that moment with a full awareness and full enlightenment and said, "I want you, John, in all your fallibility to bring forth this perfect record of what happened. I want my peace for a people to abide with the truth of that night, the things I said to you, so they can have peace."
It's why Jesus spoke that night to his disciples. It's why Jesus preserved his Word. It's why we are here this morning to remind one another, because we live in a world where there's tribulation. Amen? We live in a world that is not defined by peace but by problems. Amen? Yes. There are, for sure, fleeting moments of joy, but don't be surprised by that. That is what the world gives. The world gives fleeting moments of joy.
We are not to be people of this world. In fact, we are to live in such a way, so holy… The word holy means separate. Altogether different than. Not in some little enclave where we build walls and barriers in some monastic life, but Jesus says, "You are to be in the world, but not subject to the world. The world is to see you as salt and light in the midst of the darkness and decay. They are to find hope in you, and you are a marvel to them. You live in a way that passes all understanding.
They are going to see this God-like confidence. They are going to see in you a hope they cannot understand, and they are going to ask you to explain to them the source of that hope. If you are my people, I'm not taking you out of trouble. I'm going to walk with you through trouble. I'm going to give you hope that you might bring hope to others. The comfort with which you have been comforted, I am going to ask you to comfort others with."
That doesn't mean we don't get cancer. It doesn't mean we don't have trouble. It doesn't mean we don't have children who don't come, or children who do come and die. It doesn't mean everything in our lives is perfect. That is a lie, and the Enemy always taunts you with it. "If God loves you, is this the way it would roll? If God loves you, is this what he would do to you? Leave God."
The truth is, the reason our world is the way it is, is because we have left God to begin with. This is not the world he intended. In the beginning when God created us, we lived in perfect peace. We lived in a paradisiacal situation that was defined by prosperity and health where there was no death. There was no spouse who left the other spouse.
When we decided to move away from the God who is life, we got what you get when you move away from life. You got death. The gospel, the good news, is that God did not leave us alone in our death. He has run after us. This is the culmination of his running. This is his coming. This is his redeeming work. It's found right here in John 14, through the end of the book. I told you it's the entire purpose of the gospel of John.
This is John, chapter 20, verse 31. It says, "I have written these things to you so when you read them and you remember them, you might have life." Jesus has come to give us life. Not life defined by anxiety, a lack of peace, and insecurity, but we live in a world that brings all that. So, what's the solution? Let me read you the end of John, chapter 14, from 27 down through 31. It says:
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here."
This is Jesus on Flight 93 that is headed right for the capitol. He says, "Let's roll. Let's go. Let's go right into the teeth of terror, and let's take it out. Except you're not going to take it out. I'm going to take it out, and my story is not going to be over. I'm telling you this now." He tells us why he's telling us this now. So that we wouldn't be overwhelmed.
He says, "You're going to forget this because of the pathos, because of the suffering, because of the emotion of the situation. But guess what? I'm going to send you my Spirit. He is going to remind you of these things. He's going to teach you all things. He's going to bring all things to remembrance. That will be the means through which you can live in love and joy and peace." It is the purpose of the gospel. It is the product of the gospel. When the gospel and the Spirit are present, so is peace.
Let me talk about the beauty of Jesus for a second. What would you think most men would be concerned about if you knew they were moments away from the most horrible suffering we could even imagine? I'm not just talking about the cross. I'm talking about Jesus, who has eternally dwelt in perfect unity with the Father, who knew there was a moment coming when he was going to be separated from his eternal unity, from the oneness of God himself that he was.
It's even beyond my ability in language to explain it. I mean, there was all the human suffering. There was all the human worldly failure. He was going to be rejected by friends. He was going to look like he was deluded. He was going to look like he was a liar. He was going to look like he was powerless. It was going to look like his Enemy was winning. He was going to suffer humiliation after humiliation. His back was going to be beaten down to muscular tissue being exposed. He was going to be mocked, and he was going to be abandoned.
What do you think most people would do in that situation? They would just be going, "I have to get alone, guys," but Jesus didn't try and get alone. He tried to call together his children. This is what good shepherds always do. They're always concerned for the sheep. It's what great kings do. They're not worried about their own power. They're not worried about their legacy. They're worried about their people. They're worried about those they lead. That's what great kings do. It's what great servants do. It's what great leaders do.
Jesus is the great Shepherd. He is the great King. He is the greatest leader of all time, and he is the greatest servant. He loves you. In the moment of this horrible suffering, he's concerned for you, his disciples. He sees the panic in your eyes. He sees the pathos. He sees the overwhelming anxiety, and he says, "Guys, look here. Listen to me. I'm going to leave you my peace." I mean, think about it. Don't we love this?
I am a child of my age. As a kid, I remember Tuesday nights were Happy Days nights. I can remember what Richie and Ralph Malph and Potsie felt like in the face of the dark leather jackets and the bullies. I can remember what happened every time Fonzie showed up. Peace. Every little skinny kid, like I was, always imagined having a friend like Fonzie. He always wanted a Fonzie who could show up and bring peace.
In the worst use of metaphors of all time, God is the great Fonzie. When he is there, there is an overwhelming sense of peace, because you go, "Okay. I don't know how this is going to work out, but the Fonz is here, and it's going to work out." That's why, like I tell you again and again, every great story hearkens to the greatest story. It's what we all wish we had. We wish we could rub a lamp, and power that was greater than this world would show up and grant us our wish.
Jesus is saying, "I'm so much more wonderful than you could imagine that I'm going to grant you a wish you wouldn't even make. I'm going to go do what you don't even know has to be done, because you don't even know how bad your reality is. I'm going to go do it, and it's going to look like I'm losing. You're going to be scared. You're going to even be angry at me. You're going to say, 'I hate myself. I hate you. I hate this world. I hate God. I hate Jesus.' I'm going to say 'It's okay,' because that's how frail you are, and that's how much I love you. I'm going to rescue you from all that. Listen to me."
I don't want to dance around the issue. It's Mother's Day, for goodness' sake. We're talking about people with barren wombs who are here. We're talking about women whose wombs weren't barren who ripped life out of it and are living in the midst of that guilt and shame. I want to tell you God loves you. He's not angry at you for ripping that life outside of you.
He's just so sorry you got to a place apart from him that somehow, in what is the dearest of all loves humans can understand, a mother's love for her child, your anxiety and peace and panic and godlessness in that moment took you even to that point where you could destroy the life you'd been given because you didn't see how it could be redeemed. We have a whole ministry here for you. I want to tell you it's called Someone Cares. We would love moms, moms who never held their babies… We would love to bring healing and hope into your life.
Gals whose wombs have never been opened, we have a whole ministry here called Shiloh. It harkens back to Hannah, a sweet dear lady in the Bible whose womb was closed. We would love to talk to you about barrenness and minister to you. We have a ministry called Forgotten Fathers for men here who have been through abortion. We would love to minister to you. We are not here to tell you shouldn't do things. We are here to tell you God loves you and wants to bring you back into relationship with him. We're here to help you today.
What I want to do right now that can help you more than anything else is let you get a glimpse of Jesus, the great Lover and King who, in the moment of what you think is great trouble in his life, is concerned with the trouble you're experiencing. He says, "I want you to have peace." This section of Scripture is not for gravesides. It is for people who are living. Walk through this with me.
I've already read it a couple of times. I'm going to read it again. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you." Let's just talk about that. How does the world give peace? Because all of us want peace. Every single one of us is looking for some sense of, "All right. I think I can make this. This is going to be okay. Things are going to go well for me." The peace of the world is always circumstantial. It's always conditional. There's nothing necessarily wrong with it, except it's not reliable.
God wants you, by the way, to have a circumstance that is defined by peace. Do you know that? He just doesn't want you to have a fleeting sense of peace. Do you know God wants you to live in a condition that is peaceful? That's what he created you for, but you live in an unstable world. It's not just the weather systems of Texas. It is the condition of the world that is unstable. God wants to give you a different kind of peace, not a fleeting peace.
Look. We get our peace from things and from events. Things rust. Events change. Sometimes we get our peace by running away in some illusion of pleasure. In fact, this week I was sitting down, and I thought to myself, "This is true." We are designed for pleasure. Do you know that? The idea of living in pleasure is consistent with who we are. We are designed to live in great glory. We are designed to live in great freedom. We are designed to live in great riches. We are designed to live in an environment that is prosperous and good, and so we long for that.
Here is the deal, though. Every time we try and find prosperity, riches, fame, glory, peace, and pleasure apart from God, it will always rust or change. God goes, "I love you more than that. I am not here to just tease you. I am here to satisfy you." Think about this: "…I am the Bread of life…" In other words, when you eat bread… You can eat kale salad all day long and not be satisfied, but when you eat bread, you go, "Okay. All right. That's doing the job right there." Eventually you're like, "I don't want anymore. I'm done. No more bread. No more anything. I am full."
That's why he said that. Do you want to be satisfied? Everything else, everything else, is going to be fleeting. What every addiction is in our lives is us running after a God-given desire in a God-forbidden way. It is a coping strategy that is sure to fail that we are clinging onto because we're not listening to God's claim on our lives. Let me walk you through a few things to set this up.
When Jesus said, "Look. I don't give you the peace the world gives…" Again, the peace the world gives is conditional and circumstantial. "With me, there is abiding peace. I've never been panicked. I've never been without provision. I am God, for goodness' sake, and you are my child. The problem is you run away from me. When you run away from me, you run away from provision." Augustine said this a long time ago: "By craving to be more, man becomes less; and by aspiring to be self-sufficing, he fell away from him who truly suffices him." Look at this. Are you ready?
We want ease. Don't we? I mean, I want ease. I really do. I want ease. That's not sin in me, but Jesus says, "Todd, you are not home. This is war. There are my children who have been taken ransom, my sheep who have been led astray. I've left you here to be about my Father's business. I don't mind that you love ease. I hate war as well, but this is a time of war.
Ease is not going to be your thing. This world is not your home. Quit looking for a vacation when it's time to go to work. During this war you're in, you're going to have trouble, but take heart. We've won the war. It's going to look like you're losing a few battles along the way, but take heart. We've won the war." "But, God, I love ease." He says, "Great. Come to me." Watch this.
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Do you want a heavy yoke? Keep trying to find life where there is no life at all. Keep trying to be satisfied by eating that which does not satisfy. Keep adopting new coping strategies that will give you moments of joy but fill you with deeper darkness, more victimization, more guilt, and more shame. That is a heavy yoke. We want ease. Jesus goes, "That's okay. I created you for ease. Come to me. I'll give it back."
We want pleasure. How about this verse? "You [God] will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever." God wants nothing more than for you to be one with him and come close to him. If you're near him, in his right hand are pleasures forever. Do you think he's upset that you want pleasure? No. He's broken-hearted that you keep looking for it other places. We want fortune. How about this? Ephesians 1:18-21 says:
"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come."
Don't seek riches on this earth, because wealth takes wings. Don't weary yourself in seeking after it, because it is gone. Thieves steal it. Moths eat it. Rust destroys it. Governments devalue it. We want peace. How about if I read you this verse? "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."
We want life. The entire purpose of this gospel… John 1:4: "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men." John 17:3: "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." John 20:31: "…but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name." Do you see that? Everything you're looking for, God is just going, "I'm right here. I'm right here."
Here's our problem: We don't believe him, and so we don't have peace. It's very important. It's really interesting what happens here in John, chapter 14, because he says, "I want you to rejoice. I want you to have peace. You have to believe." He almost says it backwards. "If you'll believe in me, you'll have joy and you'll have peace. But you have to believe in me. Nothing else will give you those things."
The order is very important. It is why Jesus has gone through again and again with his disciples, "Look. Here's the deal. We're not going to rush to the crown. We're not going to usher in the kingdom without the cross. I have to do some things to get you to where you want to go. I know you don't want to hear about the cross. I know this time of suffering and death, I know this reconciliation thing, you'd rather not deal with, but I am a holy God. I cannot deny one of my characteristics in order to express another. I am completely just. I am completely loving."
Don't we know that, that part of being loving is there is justice in this world, that you don't let injustice roll? Jesus says, "What I'm going to do, in my perfect, sovereign, merciful way, is I am going to provide a satisfaction for my justice, so I can be holy and righteous and loving and one with you. I'm going to die. They're not going to kill me.
I'm going away, not because I'm losing but because it's the commandment of the Father, who loves you, who is sovereign, that he satisfies his holy name so he can save his unholy people, because he cares for you. He is sickened that you have gone away with the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy, and that you live under the bonds of the Oppressor. You have no rest. You have no riches. You have no glory. You have no life, but I have come that you might have it again." Do you see this?
All Paul did is he took the things which he didn't know that God showed him. John, chapter 14, verse 26 says, "Look. After I leave, I'm going to send you the Holy Spirit. I'm going to take imperfect men like Paul, and I'm going to write perfect books. I'm going to take finite men like Paul, and I will give you infinite truth. I'm going to take fallible men like John and Paul, and I will give you infallible truth. I'm going to take errant sinners, and I'm going to produce through them, as only God can do, inerrant revelation. Pay attention to it."
Listen. Thirteen different times when Paul was starting a letter, this is the way he started it. Let me just overwhelm you and see if you can't catch a pattern. Here we go. In Romans, chapter 1, verse 7: "…to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace…" First Corinthians, chapter 1, verse 3: "Grace to you [Corinthians] and peace…" Second Corinthians 1:2: "Grace to you and peace…" Galatians: "Grace to you and peace…" Ephesians, chapter 1: "Hey, folks in Ephesus…" "Grace to you and peace from God…" Philippians…
Are you all starting to catch a pattern? This is not just a lazy author. This is God's divine revelation. What Paul is doing… He didn't even know, I don't think. What Paul is doing is teaching you about what Jesus did when he was here. Watch. I want to overwhelm you for a second. Philippians: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father…" Colossians: "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father."
To the Thessalonians: "Paul and Silvanus and Timothy… I brought them in. They're running with me right now, too. To you we say, 'Grace and peace.'" In 2 Thessalonians, he says the same thing. In 1 Timothy, as he closes out a letter to his disciple, "To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace…" The last letter he wrote to Timothy: "To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace…" To Titus: "To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace…" Philemon: "Grace to you and peace…" Do you get that? It's always in the same order.
"I'm going to give you something you could never earn or deserve. When I give you that, you will then have the chance again to have peace." This is very important. It's why Jesus said, "Boys, I'm going to go die. I have to die because God is holy. You have offended him. There is a cost to your offending him. The wages of sin is death. I must pay that wage. I cannot mock the law. I'm a righteousness God. I am going to go and pay your debt. I'm going to do for you what you cannot do yourself." Grace.
"As a result of that grace, you will then be allowed to come back into relationship with God." Peace. "But, boys, I'm not going to usher in the kingdom right away. I'm going to let this world roll a little bit more. The Prince of this world, who deceived you and brought death in the first place, is going to continue to have his moments where he competes for your heart, and he lies to you and he lies to others.
Guess what? I'm going to leave you here to show your love for me. I'm going to indwell you with my Spirit. I'm going to teach you my goodness. I'm going to let you live with hope in a way the rest of the world is to watch the way you live, in peace in the midst of trouble, pursuing me in the midst of not being able to see me. They are going to watch you, and these things I have done to glorify the Father? If you believe in me, even greater things than these, you will do. But brace yourselves, boys, because you're about to complete what is lacking in my sufferings."
That doesn't mean Christ's suffering almost gained for us salvation. What it means is you're going to suffer for your day and age in a way the world looks at and says, "Why are you here? Who are you?" The answer is, "I am God's child, and so are you, if you would just believe. This world is not my home, and so I don't look for this world to ultimately satisfy me."
Here's the reason we don't have a greater ministry. We come in here, and we sing our songs. We go out, and we look for satisfaction and peace the same way everybody else does. So, they go, "Well, I don't know what they've found, but they surely have not found the source of life, because they want money, position, fame, and pleasure just like I do. All they do is get up earlier on Sundays and go through some charade like they have some truth which, clearly, they don't have, because if they had it, they wouldn't be with me on Lower Greenville.
They wouldn't be into missionary dating, sleeping with me. They wouldn't be leveraging themselves up to find a nicer car and a bigger house in a certain community. I can strike Jesus off the list. They wouldn't hold on to what I give them the way they do. They would invest in the kingdom that is to come. They would know this world isn't their home. They wouldn't be looking to build their houses here, because they know God has come and he is preparing a place for them where they're going."
John 14:28: "You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me…" This would thrill you. "…you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I." There is so much right here. "You will have great rejoicing if you'll just believe in me. If you had faith in me, if you knew my words were true, then you would be thrilled that I'm going to go do what I'm going to do, to die and be ascended at the right hand of the Father, because you would know I'm going to now go in the presence of the one who I left to come here."
When he says, "…the Father is greater than I," if this were the only verse we had in our Bible, we might believe Jesus is not eternally God. But it isn't the only verse we have in our Bible. You have to read every verse in light of every other verse and let the Bible interpret itself. Don't pull one verse or one statement out of context.
What does it mean when Jesus says, "…for the Father is greater than I"? The Jehovah's Witnesses, in their untaught unstable ways, use this as a means to teach you that Jesus is not God, but they have to deny multiple other verses. Jesus says, "I and the Father are one. If you've seen me, you've seen the Father. I was with the Father in the beginning. I am the Word made flesh. All the fullness of the Father dwells in me. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.I am the Word made flesh."
There's another little verse out there in John 14 where it says, "…the Father is greater than I." What does that mean? What he's saying is, "Look. The Father is greater right now in position, in place. In my humiliation, in my incarnation, in this moment when I've laid aside my deity and not considered it a thing to be grasped, I am no longer experiencing the glory of the Father.
Guess what? I get to go back home. My tour of duty is about to be done. I'm going to go lay my life down, and I'm going to take it back up again. I'm going to go be with the Father. If you knew that was true, you would be happy for me. And not just for me but for you, because you would know what I'm doing is the means through which you can come back into relationship with the Father so that when I come to get you one day I can bring you in."
Are you following this? That's what this means. It's also called the doctrine of procession, which you find out in the Trinity. To quote the great theologian, Shai Linne, this is who Jesus is: "He is one with the Father. He is one in nature, one in essence, but he is distinct in person." He is distinct in his function, specifically in the context of the incarnation in this humiliation.
That's what he's saying. "That's why this is going to go, but let me tell you something about me. The reason I'm going to go to this cross is the Father is a loving Father, and he is in control. Even when I go to a cross, it doesn't really make sense to me as I wrestle with this in my human flesh. Evil is not winning. Love is winning, and love will win. So, off I go." I'm going to show you that very clearly here in a moment.
Look at verse 29. "Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe." This is why so much of our Bible is prophetic. Over 33 percent of our Bible is prophetic. The reason it's prophetic is God says, "This is how you can know this is God's Word." This isn't just a collection of stories, mythology, and writing that has really no way to be tested. If you cannot make sense of it, or test it, it is nonsensical by nature. The Bible alone, among books that claim to be divine, dared to tie itself to measurable, definable, archaeologically discoverable history.
It said in the context of history, "This is going to happen. I'm telling you this is what's going to happen so you can know I'm in control." The reason Jesus is telling us what's about to happen, the reason the Bible is prophetic, is so we would not be pathetic. Let me say that again, because if I were a Southern Baptist preacher or African-American in nature, I would say that seven times, and you would all be up and going, "Yeah! Amen. That's in my Bible!"
What I'm telling you is the reason the Bible is prophetic is so you would not be pathetic. All right? What I mean by that is the word pathetic comes from the Greek word pathos, which means suffering, or we get the word emotion from it. The reason the Bible tells you, "This is what's going to happen. This is who you are. This is what I'm going to do, and this is how I'm going to reconcile you to me," is so that you would not live according to emotion.
That's what pathetic people do. They're constantly changing, by every whim and wave of doctrine. By whether the bomb goes off or doesn't go off. By whether the adoption comes through or doesn't come through. By the way the pregnancy sticks or it doesn't stick. That is circumstantial and conditional.
Jesus says, "My people are not victim to circumstance. I'm going to tell you bombs are going to go off. Babies are going to miscarry. Young birth moms are going to flake out on you. Husbands will flake out on you. I would encourage you not to marry a man until you see a pattern of his being married well to me, because those kinds of men are less likely to flake out on you. Don't be unequally yoked, because I love you. I don't want you to bring pathos into your own life by ignoring me, but just so you know this, this ain't your home. Even the best of my people will make the worst of decisions, but I won't. Trust in me." Are you all tracking?
The reason he says verse 29 is so you would believe, that you wouldn't be pathetic. It is pathetic to be circumstantially joyful. It is pathetic to be walking around in fear and being owned by this world. It is courageous to stand up and say, "Bring it." This is exactly what Jesus does. Paul is a thief. That's all he is. We think he's brilliant. All Paul is, is he takes ideas of Jesus, and he grows them. He's not a thief. What he really is, is a person who the Holy Spirit did what he said he would do in John 14:26. Watch this.
Philippians, chapter 1. Jesus says, "Let's roll. Let's go right into the face of trouble, because guess what? It's not real trouble for me. God is in control." Philippians 1:27: "Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…" The peace Christ has brought. "…so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…" No matter what's happening around you. "…in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God."
"Don't you know who I am? Answer me. Hey, bro. You have no authority unless it's given to you from my Father in heaven. This is not your little game. This isn't even your governorship. God makes kings. Do what you need to do. I'm doing what I need to do. Let's get on with this." That made Pilate a little bit pathetic. Nervous. He goes, "That's not a normal man who says that. It's like he knows something I don't know." That is a fact. That is God.
"God even injected into your wife's little dream. She told you, 'That's no mere man. The reason we can't find anything wrong with him is there's nothing wrong with him.'" But Pilate is pathetic. He loves fame, and he thinks he can get it. He loves riches, and he thinks he can get them. He loves ease, and he thinks he can keep it by staying connected to Caesar. "Right there. That man on his knees getting beaten? That's where you're going to get peace, Pilate."
Look at verse 30. "I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me…" I love this. This has become kind of an… If you go to the Urban Dictionary right now, when people go, "Hey, man, what are we going to do?" you look, and you go, "I got nothing. I got nothing. This is outside of my pay grade." This is what Jesus says. Right here, in John 14.
"Hey, guess what? That guy? The one who intimidates you? That evil? That darkness that's foreboding? He's got nothing. He doesn't own me. He has no dominion over sinless men. I'm a sinless man. He thinks he's in control. He's my puppet. He's going to glorify me, because the world is about to see the love of the Father. By the way, that's why I'm not freaked out. It ain't the Pharisees and Sadducees. It isn't Pilate. It's not Herod. It's me, following my loving Father. Love always wins." Do you get that? Paul is a thief. "If God is for you, who can be against you?" Where do you think he got that idea? John 14.
"… [Look, disciples,] so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me…""This is why I'm going to go to the cross. Love is in control. Love will win. It is the source of my peace. Get up, boys. I know you don't get it yet, because you're pathetic, because you're not listening to the Prophet, because you're not yet fully enlightened. But I'm going to send the Holy Spirit. He's going to come, and he's going to get you boys ready. You're going to change the world, but for now I'm doing to go die for the world. Let's roll."
This is where you should applaud, because he's getting up to go right now and die for you. You don't get it either. I don't get it. I cannot get my arms around this moment in history, but do you see it? If I saw it, and if I really understood it, it would change everything about me. I would become a very peculiar person. I would sing at funerals. I would not let my emotions control me to where I go, "I hate you, because you just gave me bad news." This is a world filled with bad news, but it's a world that good news, euangelion, the gospel, has invaded.
If you know the gospel, you're one of those very peculiar people who can sing, "Blessed be his name." Every verse. The world looks at you and goes, "Who are you people?" We answer, "We're the people of God, called by his name. We know the story. It's been prophesied. It's happened. It's anchored in history. You can't deny it. He's coming. I know him. I believe in him. That is why I sing."
Listen, we are not people who hope without grief. That's why Paul says we should comfort one another with the comfort we've been comforted with. There are lots of times like this that we're to sit on the couch and mourn and go, "This is not what we wanted." Jesus modeled that for us just after this in John 14. It's just a few verses later that he goes, and he says, "Brothers, watch and pray for me that I wouldn't grow weary, because there's some serious tribulation in this world."
After we mourn with those who mourn, we're supposed to get up. We're supposed to be people with enduring hope. We are not people who hope without grief, but we also are not people who ever are to grieve without hope. We don't have to pretend, but we do have to pray. I'm not into bumper sticker theology, but it is true. If you don't know God, you will not know peace. Where there is no God, there is no peace. But if you know Jesus, if you know God, you are supposed to know…have intimate relationship with, abide with, live in…peace.
This is why we need one another. This is where community is supposed to show up and pray and intercede. It's normal for this to be a blow. Death is never fun. Jesus himself showed up and offered community, but he didn't just offer community. Because he's King, he did something about it. Blessed be his name.
Father, I pray my friends would know you and would live in the light of the gospel. I pray they would, Father, experience abundant joy, and not because they're mothers or fathers, not because of wealth or ease or health, but because of the gospel of Jesus Christ that has reconciled us to the God of peace.
We thank you, Lord, that by faith we have been justified that we might be reconciled to God and, therefore, have peace with God. We thank you, Father, that we are to be anxious for nothing. You've told us prophetically, "Trouble is coming," but to not be anxious and to, in everything, with thanksgiving and supplication, let our requests be made known to you.
Lord, I pray you'd come quickly, when we can meditate on the fact that you have already come, and one day you'll take us out of this world defined by death and deceit, that this peace of God…which passes all understanding, that is uncategorizably separate from this world…will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
The world will come to us and say, "Who are you people?" and we can say, "We are people of the blessed one, who can worship him when it's plentiful and when streams of abundance flow, and who can worship him when the world is anything but what it should be." I pray that in this room today would walk out of here people who know trouble is coming but know you have come, and because of that, they know peace. In Christ's name, amen.