Peace. Power. Presence.
Why are these three words important? We believe that these three words declare the basic needs of all humanity. We seek peace. We search for the power to overcome, achieve, succeed, etc. And we crave companionship in one form or another.
Jesus said He came to fulfill the Law, referring to the Old Testament Law of Moses. The Ten Commandments were the foundation of the rest of Moses’ teaching. The Law was rigidly unforgiving and was designed that way to communicate the seriousness of the consequences of our behaviors. Jesus declared that He came to help us understand the ‘spirit’, or ‘attitude’, behind what He called sin: missing the mark, falling short of the goal.
The Israelites who came out of Egypt were an undisciplined bunch of people who were ignorant of the God of their Fathers. They needed to learn the principles of living that would help them prosper as a society. Jesus came to make a way for all people to have a Law written on their hearts and minds. A way that would work from the inside out rather than the outside in.
Peace: cessation from war, quiet, calm.
Power: vigor, authority, strength.
Presence: in place, existing now.
We are surrounded by people of all sizes, shapes, and personalities. Some we like, and then there are others we do not. We function and live under the influences that the circumstances of life may press upon us. Our failure, frustrations, fears, hopes, and dreams are often connected to our responses to these pressures. Emotions and thoughts distract us, engendering anxious thoughts. We may become troubled, lose sleep, and actually feel physical pain—all caused by a lack of peace in our souls.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave you, peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth peace give I unto you.” I would guess we have all tried to find peace through the various solutions society presents us, and have found the methods society presents us to be only fleeting helps. So we search for peace again. The peace Jesus speaks of falls under that part of the definition that says ‘cessation from war’.
The ‘peace’ Jesus promises is found in His coming to present Himself as a sacrifice. To pay the price needed to bring us peace. He was crucified, dying in our place. Peace that is deep enough to calm our souls and spirit begins with forgiveness. We know when we know what we know about ourselves. What I mean is this: we know our failures and sins. Psalm 85 verse 10 says, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” These two are normally at odds with the other, but the Psalmist spoke of the promise that one day mercy and peace would come together to create a new thing. Mercy and righteousness met at the Cross. Jesus paid righteousness’s demand that sin be judged, but mercy said it is over. Peace can reign in our hearts. You can know true peace. It is a promise!
The atom bomb detonated over Hiroshima reached 200 million degrees at the center of the blast. The power of the explosion literally vaporized objects. Mankind had unleashed a power beyond his imagination… The Word of God has promised us access to a greater power. It is power to overcome guilt and self-destructive habits. This promise is a promise of power to cleanse us from all manner of ungodliness and oppression. Most importantly, through accessing this ‘power’ we can reach the full potential built into our body, soul, and spirit.
Jesus said we could receive power after that we were baptized with the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is simply an Old English term for the Spirit of God. The Lord has made a way for us to have power in the places we felt powerless. Men and women recognize the areas of life and personal behavior we feel powerless to overcome. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi to encourage them, saying, “It is God that worketh in you, both to do and to will of His good pleasure.” In other words, once we have received His indwelling Spirit it will be the source of power to help us to desire to change as well as giving us the power to do so.
The promise of power through the Holy Ghost is as real as the power unleashed in an atom bomb. It has a much more redeeming purpose. In the book of Joel the Lord promised to ‘restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer worm’. The Israelites understood the symbolism of the insects. They destroy from the root and the leaf through infiltration and swarming over their plants. To us it means those things that have eaten away at our innocence, potential, and confidence. Without doubt someone reading this will have suffered some type of abuse: mental, sexual, verbal, emotional, or physical abuse. We have had our youth, hopes, and dreams destroyed, suffering at the hands of an abuser. The Psalmist wrote, “He restoreth my soul.”
The Promise is true.
No one likes to be, or feel, alone. The desire to be in fellowship with other people is built into our DNA. Society has even recognized this in caring for the terminally ill. It is for this reason hospice care has grown in scope and familiarity, the purpose being to make certain someone is ‘present’ in that person’s final moments. Psalm 68 verse 6 begins, “He setteth the solitary in families.” In today’s English the word ‘solitary’ is better translated ‘lonely’. Maybe the greatest promise Jesus spoke is recorded in the Gospel of John chapter 14 verse 18: “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you.” At times the English of the King James leaves one wondering, why use that word? We could quote verse 18 this way: “I will not leave you orphans.”
Jesus has promised to be ‘present’ in our lives. He will be the ‘presence’ that comforts, loves, and cares. When we feel desolate and friendless His ‘presence’ will come near. We can know the promise of His ‘presence’ through His Spirit in us. The Book of Romans gives us this promise: “We have not received the spirit of fear again to bondage, but of adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father.” Every man, woman, and child have this assurance.
I will not leave you comfortless!