This Sunday is the Second Sunday of Advent and the theme is “Peace.” The dictionary definition of Peace is not reflective of what the scriptures define as “Peace.” Perhaps that’s why so many don’t understand and cannot comprehend biblical peace.
The dictionary defines peace as “freedom from disturbance, tranquility.” But that is not the kind of peace Jesus is referring to when He says in John 16:33, (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The biblical concept of peace does not focus on the absence of trouble. In fact, Jesus, ever the realist, promises peace in the midst of your troubles. Perhaps that is why the theme of Peace comes on the day the assigned scriptures point to John the Baptist; when nothing about John the Baptist reminds me of tranquility.
So, where does a person find the kind of peace and experience the comfort of that peace that cannot be affected by trouble, danger or sorrow? It’s ironic that what is surely the most definitive discourse on peace in all of Scripture comes from Jesus on the night before He died in agony. He knew what He was facing, yet He still took the time to comfort His disciples with the message of peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” (John 14:27, NRSV)
We see same emphasis in the opening line of the assigned text from Isaiah 40, that says “’Comfort, comfort my people,’ says the Lord.” It demonstrates the wonderful peace God wants us to have and experience even in the midst of the troubles, difficulties, disappointments and grief that we face in life.
Join us at Covenant on this Second Sunday of Advent where we are “Preparing for Wonderful Peace.” That’s the title of my sermon based on Isaiah 40:1-5, 1-11 (NRSV) and Mark 1:1-8 (NRSV).