The disciples found themselves in a storm on the sea. John’s account tells us they were afraid. But it wasn’t the choppy sea that frightened them. It was the sight of the figure of Jesus walking on the water that scared them.
Once they hear his voice they willingly receive him into their boat. John’s account is unique in that there is no mention of the storm suddenly ceasing. What is calmed is the disciples. Then they
immediately arrive at their destination.
A few chapters later they are facing another storm in the form of opposition that has gathered against Jesus. They found themselves in the storm shelter of the Upper Room. Jesus says to them, “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.”
Peace the disciples did not yet know. Tribulation they did know. The word means “a pressing, pressing together, or pressure.” They knew pressure. Jesus was hunted. He was hiding with them in an Upper Room. It looks like the world has conquered him, not the other way around.
And you’ve experienced pressure too, haven’t you? Whether it is pressure from your work or the stack of bills or relationships, you know the feeling of the world overcoming you. What has Jesus said that would bring us peace?
To find an answer we have to read the entire discourse together. When we do we find that earlier Jesus has declared, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Peace is a gift from Jesus. He gives it to us. And it is ours when we believe. We find a common cadence in John chapters 14 and 16. In 14:29 Jesus says: “I have told you this…so that…you may believe.” In 16:33 Jesus says: “I have said this to you…so that…you may find peace.” The foundation of peace is peace with God through faith. Faith that God loves us and is preparing a place for us in his house.
But Jesus also brings peace with others. His disciples will be known by their love of each other. But sometimes disciples don’t show love to each other. What do you do then to seek peace? Paul gave this advice: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Do your part to seek peace with others. It takes two to tango so peace is not always achieved. But you will experience peace when you lay down at night knowing you did your part.
And that’s when you will experience personal peace. When you hand your anxieties over to Jesus in the midst of your storms you will find peace. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Storms will come. Jesus said so. Experience affirms so. And when they do listen for Jesus’ voice in the storm. Invite him into your boat. He may not stop the storm. But he is with you in the storm. And he will peacefully deliver you to your destination.
— Excerpt from the BELIEVE Study Series by Randy Freeze