BLESSED and ever precious are the words, which came from the lips of our loving Lord, before he went to the cross. His own were gathered around Him; before He ever comforted them and poured out His loving heart, He manifested that love by serving them. He arose from the supper, laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. What a sight the Son of God girded! |After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded| (John xiii:5). It was a great symbolical action. He who stooped so low to wash the feet of His sinful creatures is the same who declared in the Old Testament |Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities| (Isaiah xliii:24). The washing typifies the service our beloved Lord renders to His saints in cleansing them from defilement; it is |the washing of water by the Word.| And thus He continues in loving service till at last all His redeemed people are brought home into the presence of the throne and |the sea of glass like unto crystal| (Rev. iv:6) where no more defilement is possible and no more washing is needed.
Many and blessed are the words, which then flowed from His lips, after Judas had gone out into the dark night. Only He could speak thus. Thousands upon thousands, countless multitudes have been fed upon His gracious, comforting words and have been strengthened and upheld. Their careful and refreshing power is undiminished. Like Himself His Words are eternal and inexhaustible. The Father's house with its many mansions, the fact of His personal return, the gift of the other Comforter, who came to abide with and in His own, the promises concerning prayer and assurance that the Father Himself loves them and many other precious truths were spoken by Him ere He left the world to go to the Father. At that time He gave His blessed legacy. |Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you| (John xiv:27). And the last word He spoke to His disciples before He uttered that marvelous high priestly prayer, contains also the assurance of peace. |These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer I have overcome the world| (John xvi:33).
The adorable Lord came to this poor sin cursed earth, a world of sinners and enemies of God by wicked works to make peace. The great work of reconciliation was effected on the cross. By His death on the cross the enemies of God, believing in Him, became reconciled to God. He made peace through the blood of His cross (Col. i:20). As believing sinners we are justified and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Not our walk or service, not our faith or repentance or anything we have done or are doing is the ground of peace with God, but what Christ has done for us. Yea He Himself is our peace. And because He is our peace, it is a peace which can never be undone or unsettled.
Oh, the peace forever flowing
From God's thoughts of His own Son!
Oh, the peace of simply knowing
On the cross that all was done!
Peace with God, the blood in heaven
Speaks of pardon now to me:
Peace with God! the Lord is risen!
Righteousness now counts me free.
When all was finished, the mighty victory over sin, Satan, death and the grave had been gained, when every foe had been met and fully conquered, the blessed victor appeared in the midst of His beloved disciples. It was on |the same day| the day when He arose, when the mighty power of God opened the grave, on the same day, He suddenly stood in their midst. The doors were shut. The disciples were full of fears and doubts. Thomas was not there at all. All at once their eyes beheld Him once more who had been crucified, had died and was buried. |Peace be unto you!| This heavenly greeting came from His lips and soothed their sorrows, cleared their doubts and dispelled their fears. And He who stood thus in their midst was the same whom Gideon had seen and who answered His fears with |Peace be unto you; fear not| (Judges vi:23). Jehovah is peace; He is our peace. On the glad and glorious resurrection day the gracious Lord appeared in their midst and proclaimed peace to them. But He also showed them His hands and His side. The marks of the nails and of the spear were seen there. They are the evidences of His death for His people. But He who was dead is risen and lives evermore. Ah! that is peace! The Christ who died for our sins, who is risen and is in God's own presence is our peace. Would we enjoy that peace in a greater sense and have it more real, then let us just have Himself, the Person as the object of our hearts. |Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.| Nothing could make them glad aside from the Lord Himself. Alas! that some of God's people try to find joy and peace in their service, experiences, knowledge of truth. Dear souls, it is the Lord only, who gives us peace and gladness.
But the blessed legacy of our Lord is not so much the peace with God, as it is |His own peace.| The peace which He possessed while on earth, that peace like a majestic river, ever flowing on in silence with not a moment's interruption. His own peace, He bequeathed to His own. What a peace was His! What restfulness the divinely reported scenes of that blessed life breathe! We have written before on His patience, His joy and His love, the love which passeth knowledge. How much might be written too on |His peace.| But not half could ever be told. What calmness we see wherever we look. The threatening multitudes did not disturb Him, nor did the fierce storm on the Galilean sea; peacefully He rested in sleep, while the angry waves tossed the little ship aside and the terror-stricken disciples awoke Him. They cried |Lord, save us; we perish.| And then His eyes opened and in loving tenderness He said unto them, |Why are ye so fearful, O ye of little faith?| Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm. Ah! poor human heart! how canst thou ever doubt with such a Lord at thy side!
And this peace which was His constant portion, was the result of a constant communion with God. His meat and drink was to do the will of Him that sent Him. That calm, unruffled peace was the fruit of His constant trust in God and dependence on Him. And this peace He wants us to enjoy. In a world full of tribulation, anxiety and care, a world full of increasing evils, conflicts and sufferings, He wants us to have His own peace. The enjoyment of this peace of our Lord Jesus Christ depends on our communion with God and the realization of our union with Him. On that blessed evening of the resurrection day the Lord spoke a second time, |Peace be unto you.| Why should He repeat the same greeting? The words which follow explain this. |As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you| (John xx:22). As Christians saved by grace and in Christ we are sent by Him as He was sent by the Father. As we realize this and walk under Him, as we set the Lord always before our eyes and our life's aim is to do His will and not our own, to please Him and not ourselves, to serve Him and not man, to let Him plan and not we ourselves, to be nothing instead of something, to be in the dust instead of exalted, then shall we enjoy His legacy |His own peace.| He wants us to have it. He wants us to be kept in perfect peace. Are we willing to have it? And what else honors our absent Lord more than a life which manifests His peace. What pleases the Father more than to behold His children reminding Him by their lives of dependence and peace, the result of the rest of faith, of His own blessed Son. And the Holy Spirit, who produces all this in us will ever lead us on in the fuller enjoyment of the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We must expect in the coming days greater tests of faith, greater conflicts, greater trials. It cannot be otherwise in these perilous times. We must not expect anything else. But He can and will keep us. |Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because He trusteth in Thee.| And ere long the God of peace will bruise Satan completely under our feet. What joy -- oh what joy awaits us when we shall see Him face to face, who is our peace.
|They that trust Him wholly
Find Him wholly true.|
|Our God is able.|