January 19, 2013
(Jesus said) "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27
A few months ago I read an article, which shared the surprising results of a survey. The survey had found the folks who win the big bucks in the lottery aren't any happier than most of us.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. Two-thousand years ago Caesar Augustus was a big winner. He had won battles over his enemies and had made it to the top, when he was acclaimed "Emperor." Now if anyone should have been happy, it should have been Augustus.
History tells us that is not the case.
His daughter and grand-daughter gave themselves over to lifestyles of lewdness and debauchery. Things got so bad he ended up banishing them. Then there was the fact many of his male grandchildren died unexpectedly. Those personal problems, along with the public running of the empire gave Caesar many a sleepless night.
That's why when he heard of a gentleman of Rome, who, in spite of many debts, was able to sleep at night, Augustus bought the man's bed. He thought the acquired piece of furniture might give him some kind of rest. Historians relate Augustus should have saved his money.
Still, Caesar learned a lesson, which can be a legacy for each of us.
Our age is marked by pharmacy shelves, which are stocked with potions that are created to provide peace. Bookstores promote programs and governments provide plans, which try to help people find contentment. No doubt all of these are of some assistance.
Still, in spite of humanity's seemingly endless search -- disappointment, depression and despondency are alive and well. As Augustus found out, true peace cannot be bought. True peace of mind and heart can only be found when we have confidence in Christ's cradle and cross.
At least, in part, giving us peace is why Jesus came into this world. It was His goal to redeem, rescue and restore those who were sick, lost and wandering. To make that goal a reality He lived His life for us and ended up embracing the death that should have been ours.
His third-day resurrection is proof He succeeded in accomplishing the Father's plan. This is why those of us who have been given faith in the Savior receive a gift, which eluded the great Caesar Augustus.
We have the peace of God, which passes all human understanding.
We have the peace, which is provided by our risen Redeemer.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, in Philippians St. Paul spoke about the peace of God, which passes all human understanding. I give thanks for that gift. And if up until now that peace has eluded me, grant me the simple childlike faith to know and believe it is there. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries