In a world desperately seeking peace – peace among nations, peace between races, peace within families, and peace in individual hearts – the only solution is the One proclaimed as The Prince of Peace. That One is Jesus. Prophets foretold his provision for peace, and angels announced His proffered peace. For two millennia, His disciples have faithfully declared this reality even through martyrdom and mayhem. Jesus, alone, is the only source of true peace. Though the troubles and turmoil of earthly life often surround His followers, they experience the deep, abiding presence of His peace.
One of the greatest invitations ever extended to humanity is given by Jesus, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) His peace is perfect and unfathomable. (See Isaiah 26:3 and Philippians 4:7.) His invitation is always available. It is extended to everyone, no matter how despised the individuals may seem in the sight of others. He offers everyone the experience of peace that only He can give!
Make no mistake: sin is a burden. Often, those who are laden with this burden do not realize the weight that they carry. They assume that other believers stagger under the same burden, only to realize some are actually free from this load. The weight is heavy, and there is no peace for them. Some people eventually heed the voice of the Prince of Peace who says, “Come unto me. . . . My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29,30) Surely and suddenly, those joyful souls experience the unimaginable – a peace that surpasses human comprehension. “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)
This peace is available, not to just a select few, but to all men everywhere. Its presence is a complete contrast to the experience of the surrounding cultures. Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) The world has turmoil, but the disciple of Jesus has peace.
This peace is realized only by fully surrendering one’s will to Jesus. Shortly before Jesus died on the cross, He explained, “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.” (John 14:27) Inner fears and troubles flee when Jesus reigns in the human heart.
Human history is filled with accounts of individuals who suffered horribly for following Jesus. Yet they bore their sufferings, and even died as martyrs with peace and patience. One of the earliest Christians to suffer such a death was the man named Stephen. He is portrayed in the Bible as a man full of faith and power and filled with the Holy Spirit. He was falsely accused and taken by a riotous mob to a tribunal that had no intention of justice. There, though Stephen calmly spoke with great wisdom and convicting truth, evil appeared to triumph, and this godly man was stoned to death. “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, ‘Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.’ And when he had said this, he [died].” (Acts 7:59-60) With obvious inner peace, he willingly suffered and even prayed for his own murderers. This is true peace, a peace the world does not know. This is peace that actually triumphs over evil.
Not only does the follower of Jesus experience peace inwardly, but the follower of Jesus also promotes peace outwardly in the culture that surrounds him. When the love of Christ fills the human heart that has received forgiveness of sins, that individual begins to actively present peace to those he knows. The testimonies are endless of the impact this God-given peace has to one human heart, which in turn impacts the lives of many others. Jesus said that is the calling of His disciples. One of His earliest statements is this: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
Rival religions are often a major cause of wars and conflicts. This is not to be true for the follower of Jesus. Jesus taught to “love your enemies,” and the New Testament implores, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)
My friend, regardless of what you have seen or heard from those who claim to follow Christ, if they are not pursuing peace, they are not His! And, except they repent, they will not dwell with Him in heaven! The Bible is very clear on these points.
There is one route – and one only – to the individual who is searching for peace. The only way to have true peace is to surrender to Jesus. To surrender means to allow Him to be Lord of every thought, word, and deed. It means to walk in fellowship with Him and to be indwelt and empowered by His Spirit. It means to be dead to sin, selfishness, and Satan. It means to live sacrificially for the benefit of others. For the one who has this peace, it means all of this and much, much more!