Clergy View: Peace for the troubled heart
The 2003 movie, “The Last Samurai,” a story of turmoil and conflict, nationally, interpersonally and within the protagonist's own heart, ends with this final narration: “And so the days of the Samurai had ended. … Nations, like men, it is sometimes said, have their own destiny. As for the American Captain, no one knows what became of him. ...Some say that he died of his wounds. Others, that he returned to his own country. But I like to think he may have at last found some small measure of peace, that we all seek, and few of us ever find.”
Jesus spoke in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, No One Comes to the Father, except through me.”
This verse in the 14th chapter of John's Gospel, is the basis for the exclusive claims of true Christianity; but more importantly, as a balm to the troubled souls of Christians. In a world of conflict, Jesus has opened his exhortation in v. 1 with this: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Peace is delivered.”
To set the context: One of Jesus’ own disciples, Judas has departed — he, who treasured this world more than Jesus, has finally been exposed, realizing that he has no use for Jesus, he throws off all vener of loyalty to gain his 30 pieces of silver from the religious establishment to hand them Jesus — He loves money and is richer for it.
And Jesus has announced his own departure — He would go to the Cross of Christ, as just sacrifice to Holy God to atone for the sins of His people. He would rise again and return to heaven. He would no longer be bodily present in the same way for his disciples.
All false religions are a twist of the truth. They address the human questions of pain, conflict and suffering and purpose and comfort by delivering false peace through material things, which provide instant gratification.
Christianity is gratification delayed. We’ve never seen Jesus, in physical, bodily form. Yet He promises to draw near and even has the audacity to tell us to not let our hearts be troubled? How?
First, He is the way — where His word is held up and obeyed, He is present. Where Christians gather together to worship him in churches, He is present.
Second, He is the truth — not a truth...but the truth...He is the creator. He is the origin and source of all that is true. All false religions offer solutions based upon redefinition of the human problem: That humanity is basically good and the peace is found in right living and right feeling: Medicines, healthy diets, hand sanitizers, finding your true personality.
The Bible tells us the truth, original sin — we as humans are sinners and condemned from the first sin of our first parents. We are blind, deaf and rebels against God. All problems arise from conflict within each human being. Our hearts are desperately wicked. There is no peace with God apart from God's grace. The Bible informs us of this. It also declared the solution: The Gospel: Jesus Christ alone has made peace with God for us.
Third, He is the life — this addresses all the questions of purpose and contentment. The peace with God delivered through the Sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus is a permanent peace. God's wrath is satisfied. Justice is fulfilled. Jesus offers new life to any who would believe in Him alone. Life forevermore. The quality of eternal life, which will carry us through death and into heaven, is given through Jesus Christ. The peace, which all of us strive for, has been found. It is revealed clearly in the Good News. It is a gift of grace today. It is for all who would repent and believe and worship. It is Jesus Christ. The barrier is taken away. He is at peace with God. He draws near to his people.
Finally. It is both exclusive and secure — if you believe this — you are secure forever, in Him. No other path will be invented. Nothing in 2020 will add to this. Believe Him. Believe in Him … and be at peace, today and forevermore.