In my reading of Scripture this morning, I came to John 16:33, which says:

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.

In Jesus = peace
In the world = tribulation

Let’s invert the words of Jesus for a moment:

Outside Jesus = judgment
Of the world = acceptance

For those who are in Christ, there is peace with God (Rom. 5:1) because of the warrior king (I have overcome the world) who is to us, the prince of peace (Isa. 9:6). For those outside of Christ, there is judgment from God while there is acceptance with the world.

As I thought about this, I began thinking about all the songs from various artists that focus on world peace. The list of artists and musicians is a who’s who list for sure: Elvis, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, U2, The Eagles and Michael Jackson. These are songs with lyrics like:

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

—John Lennon

What have we done to the world
Look what we’ve done
What about all the peace
That you pledge your only son …
What about flowering fields
Is there a time
What about all the dreams
That you said was yours and mine …
Did you ever stop to notice
All the children dead from war
Did you ever stop to notice
The crying Earth the weeping shores

—Michael Jackson

Most people think,
Great god will come from the skies,
Take away everything
And make everybody feel high.
But if you know what life is worth,
You will look for yours on earth:
And now you see the light,
You stand up for your rights.

—Bob Marley

These men have written the songs of our age – an age desperately seeking peace in all the wrong places. The words of Jesus are a calibration to our course of living in the world. What we can expect from the world is not peace but tribulation. The world is groaning for redemption it cannot produce. Jesus makes all things new, and the kingdom inaugurated in his life, death, and resurrection is being established in the hearts of men who were once hostile in him and by nature children of wrath. Such men and women are made new by Jesus, in whom we have enduring peace.

We need to correct our expectations so that we can have greater participation in the work Jesus has called us to do. Calibrated expectations will direct our efforts so that the peace the world is desperately longing for will be found in an old-rugged cross and empty tomb. Jesus has overcome the world so that we would enter into it with the Gospel of peace.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *