He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him… Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
The Lord has made two very clear points in these words uttered the night of His betrayal, both promises to the believer. The first is the magnificent promise to show Himself to the person of devoted faith, the second is to bring peace to assembly of the faithful. The first relates to the individual believer, almost exclusively so, and certainly there is where the emphasis is placed. The second, however, uses plural pronouns, though they do not show up in the English. “You” means “you the assembly” or “you the church” or “you my followers.”
The promises here are staggeringly grand. To the individual there is a promise of revelation of Himself in the innermost person, which results in knowing His heart, His mind, His love, and Him personally. This is what happens in true worship, whether public or personal, that our hearts are opened up to Christ and we meet Him heart-to-heart. Paul wrote to people who had never seen Jesus of Nazareth that God gives us “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6). The “face of Christ” means intimacy for the face is how we know and recognize others.
The other promise is also exceedingly great – to experience His peace in the congregation and through the congregation. These two are not conflicting promises or competing ideas. They are, rather, the complimentary. I believe what Christ was explaining was simply that life here with its worries and concerns must be lived with others. We can receive the knowledge of Christ as individuals and as individuals experience great moments of joy – spiritual heights and spiritual depth, or however else we want to describe it – yet peace in our hearts in this life, specifically with the concerns of this physical life, is gained through the fellowship of believers as the Spirit of Christ ministers to and through us.
Someone, for example, worried about his career can experience a certain degree of peace by individually praying to God about the matter. But he will receive much more by having been involved in a Christian family where he has seen others face similar career challenges, where there is someone he can talk with who is sympathetic to his situation, and not just talk with, but pray with. And this relates to every challenge of life, to every place where our peace is challenged in this life.
The Christian life is to be lived in community with Christ and in community with the followers of Christ. Are you enjoying these promises today? Are you an encouragement to others who also need the peace of God?
Lord, thank You for Your work of redemption in our lives. Thank You for Your Spirit. And thank You for the Christian family as well. Let us be blessings to others as we receive blessings from others. Amen.