John 14:22-31, The Peace of God, Not the World
Thesis: Knowing the God of the Gospel brings peace
Intro to the Text:
Because of the following considerations.
V.19 The “World no longer sees,”
20, Jesus not yet disclosed publically
21, Jesus intends to disclose self to the individual heart by the Holy Spirit’s internal Testimony…
In verse 22, these things lead to Judas (Not Iscariot’s) Question: Why not public self-disclosure? Judas’ reasoning was somewhat sound. It would gain a larger following, ease in conversions, more courage for the followers. Judas echoes a similar sentiment from 7:3-5. His blood relatives also asked about this “Disclosure to the world.” To them, it seemed absurd to not disclose his power publically.
Two-thousand years ago Jesus had this discussion with his disciples. We still ask today, “Why not simply act decisively, supernaturally, and publically?” Would not all mankind would follow, repent, believe? Would not the church avoid all the trouble; especially in the face of trial! Why not supernaturally deliver the martyrs and suffering saints? Why allow them to continue to suffer? Why, for the sake of missions, does Jesus not simply appear to lost people and say, “believe in me!”
The Disciples were seeking peace of mind. This is implicit in the Lord’s estimation of their visible sorrow.
14:1, they were troubled in heart…
14:28b, they were afraid…
16:6, they were sorrowful…
Their sorrow is understandable. Resting your trust in a public spectacle breeds no peace of mind (27). They should have had peace of mind, if that were the case. Jesus had performed many miracles. He foretold (29-31) the miracle of obeying the Father and pursuing the cross! He foretold over and over again, “I will die at the hands of men and three days later rise again.” So, the problem was not with miraculous self-disclosure, nor with Jesus’s Gospel. The problem was unbelief in the Gospel’s adequacy to convince and convict the world.
Therefore, Judas (not Iscariot) sought peace in trial in another direction, the world’s way. What is the world’s peace? There are a few brands.
Fanaticism, we are so oppressed it must be true…
Emotionalism, I just feel it must be right…
Experience, we have had these things happen, thus we are legitimate…
These are not adequate either. If anything they are less than adequate. Every religion in the world has experience, fanatics, and emotionalism! I’ve known Mormons once heard the words whispered in audible voice from heaven, “This is true” about the teachings o Mormon missionaries. Muhammed was in a trance when receiving revelations of the Qur’an.
What is Jesus’ Peace, 27? Notice he gives an answer.
In verses, 23-24 Jesus repeats what he said in 20-21, “those who love, and obey know me…”
Cross reference this with, 14:7 & 23, to know Son results in knowing the Father. Also in verse 24, the flipside is true too: to reject the Son is to reject the Father, cf. 12:48-49. But how does one come to know and love God? The answer is the abiding. Notice in verse 23b, “Abiding” the presence and work of God in your life!
This is a package deal. To love, know, and obey comes from God’s presence in your life. The Father, Son, and Spirit revealed in Jesus. 1:18, 14:6, but brought home by the Holy Spirit. What is Jesus’ peace? The Holy Spirit remaining in you and with you. Unless Jesus “Abides in you” by the Holy Spirit, you don’t really believe in, love, or know God!
So, why not public self disclosure? Because it does not necessarily lead to people actually knowing God! True faith, obedience, love, and knowledge of God only because he “abides with us! Judas’ source of peace was by looking at how the world accomplishes something, by spectacle. He missed the point that to know God is only through Jesus 1:18, 14:6-7, 23!
Further, it must be personal: not just that he died, but he died for you! Personally, as if he were standing before you today and saying, “Believe in me!”
If the self disclosure is internal and personal, How does Jesus disclose himself? In the Old Testament, the expectation in Joel 2:29, Ezekiel 37, Jeremiah 31, Isaiah 55 was the Holy Spirit poured out.
Tension grows though as you read in our text verses 14:2b, 19, 25. The question rises: if Jesus is absent, how do we know him? Doesn’t that undercut what I just said, (that we must know Jesus personally). Is it contradictory in verse 19-the “world no longer sees,” yet 23, “I will abide/remain”? Why are we able to know, love, obey, and trust in someone who is absent? How does Jesus “disclose himself” to us?
Notice in verse 26, the Father sends the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ Name, i.e. as royal emissary. In 26b, The Holy Spirit teaches you Jesus! In the core of your being, He speaks to your mind and heart through the word!
So, how does Jesus disclose himself, though he is absent? By The Holy Spirit’s Internal Testimony. Notice in 15:26-27, the Holy Spirit gives and internal testimony to your intellect, will, and emotional trust! He Makes you know, love, obey, rejoice in, and trust in Jesus and the Father!
In prayer, in you darkest moments, isn’t it true that your only comfort is knowing that God is there? That you can cry out to him? That, when you pray God hears you? How do you know him? What was the proof? Where is he? Though Jesus is absent, the world does not see him, we see him by faith! 19 Just as love can be cultivated over a long distance correspondence by writing letters to your loved one, so love for God is made more deep by the Holy Spirit than any other bond. Two things observed, distance may be overcome by words. Second, knowing one another is more than with the mechanics of the body but also the mind, internal person! The Scripture is God’s love letter to you. The Holy Spirit actually creates your love for him through “teaching you Jesus!” The Spirit’s presence is as if Jesus were standing in our midst, speaking to our hearts!
Judas was seeking peace of mind, not just proof! But the source was wrong! Let me put this into perspective. Is there not a better way to know peace than spectacle? Spectacle is fleeting, forgotten, temporary.
In verse 27, Jesus leaves peace, but How? What is his brand of peace? In the face of the bodily absence of Jesus, our irrevocable mission, and the inevitable tribulation, the Holy Spirit does better than a spectacle! He teaches the Heart to know God. The True Peace Comes from Knowing God’s greatness.
In verse 28, Jesus’ Peace and joy in his great hour came from knowing how great the Father is! We should also know how great Jesus is from Hebrews 7:23-25, 13:8, John 17, “High Priestly Prayer.” But, knowing peace is by knowing God’s unchanging nature! Salvation is of the Lord, is it not fleeting and fallible, not in signs or wonders, but the eternal, infinite God himself abiding in, teaching, and speaking to you in His word and Spirit!
I have been preaching for 5 weeks on “Faith in the Face of Tribulation,” 16:33. Out reasoning has been, since there is no way to avoid it, how do we respond to it? My point today is know God. Don’t just know about God, or about the Gospel. Know the Gospel, and know the God of the Gospel!
The World’s peace is by spectacle, Jesus’ Peace is Knowing the spectacular God! There is no greater comfort than knowing, in the very core of your being, the God who made the promises of the Gospel. I digress, often, I major on the promises of the Gospel, because many need to hear them for the first time. But I confess I need to preach more often that we don’t just believe in the word of God, but also the God of the word! The Gospel is, indeed, true in theory, but also it is the power of God unto salvation for those who believe.
Do you ever have doubts? Do you ever think to yourself “Is God really out there? Is all of what I call providence actually just circumstance, and accidently looks like God acting? Is all that Jesus did for me just made up? Were the Apostles just fanatics following what seemed was best at the time? Do I really know God or am I just making him up? Is it just wishful thinking? Do I just need a crutch in order to get along?”
In this case, with this as your fear, you don’t just need to know about God, but to know God! This was Jesus’ answer, “If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I go to the Father, and the Father is greater than I!”
Jesus knew the greatness of his Father. And So was able to pursue the cross (30-31). So, I say to you, as the Lord Jesus did in his final words to the disciples: do not trust in measly spectacle, trust in Almighty God, who is spectacular.
Biblical History never marks out those men and women who did their duty in times of ease. Nor does the Bible mark out public spectacle. But, God’s history marks out those men and women who performed their ordinary duty, took on a daily task, and simply followed the Lord under great tribulation. Why does Bible history mark out these men and women? Because they all look for help from the one who is greater than they. So, if you are in your hour of need, time of trial. I leave you with the same hope as even our Lord Jesus had in his incarnation, John 14:23, “Rejoice because I go to the Father, and the Father is greater than I!” 16:33 “In this world you will have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world!”