You would do well to consider the men to whom Jesus first gave his peace. None
of them was worthy, and none had a right to it.
Think about Peter. Jesus was about to bestow his peace on a minister of the
gospel who would soon be spewing out cursings. Peter was zealous in his love
for Christ, but he was also going to deny him.
Then there was James and his brother John, men with a competitive spirit,
always seeking to be recognized. They asked to sit at Jesus’ right and left
hand when he ascended to his throne in glory.
The other disciples were no more righteous. They simmered with anger at James
and John for trying to upstage them. There was Thomas, a man of God who was
given to doubt. All of the disciples were so lacking in faith, it amazed and
stressed Jesus. Indeed, in Christ’s most troubling hour, they would all
forsake him and flee. Even after the Resurrection, when the word spread that
“Jesus is risen,” the disciples were slow to believe.
But there’s even more. These were also confused men. They did not understand
the ways of the Lord. His parables confused them. After the Crucifixion, they
lost any sense of unity they had, scattering in all directions.
What a picture: These men were full of fear, unbelief, disunity, sorrow,
confusion, competitiveness, pride. Yet it was to these same troubled servants
that Jesus said, “I am going to give you my peace.”
The disciples weren’t chosen because they were good or righteous; that much
is clear. Nor was it because they had talent or abilities. They were fishermen
and day laborers, meek and lowly. Christ called and chose the disciples because
he saw something in their hearts. As he looked into them, he knew each one would
submit to the Holy Spirit.
At this point, all that the disciples had was a promise from Christ of his
peace. The fullness of that peace was yet to be given to them, at Pentecost.
That’s when the Holy Spirit would come and dwell in them. We receive the
peace of Christ from the Holy Spirit. This peace comes to us as the Spirit
reveals Christ to us. The more of Jesus you want, the more the Spirit will show
you of him—and the more of Christ’s actual peace you will have.