Have you ever thought about the society into which the Savior was born? We sing “Silent night, holy night,” but such peace and quiet hardly characterized where Jesus lived. Within a couple of years of Christ’s birth, Herod was feeling quite threatened by reports of the Jewish king’s arrival. His reaction was to order the massacre of every boy in Bethlehem who was 2 or younger. But God protected Jesus by warning Joseph to take his family to Egypt (Matt. 2:13-16).
The violent and dangerous conditions in the Roman Empire didn’t improve over time. Poverty and slavery were common, Jewish insurrections were violently crushed, and public crucifixions instilled fear. In Jesus’ last days before dying on the cross, He delivered a rather confusing announcement to His disciples. First He promised to give them His peace and told them not to be troubled or afraid (John 14:27), but then He added that He was leaving them (v. 28), and they would be hated, cast out of the synagogue, and even killed (John 15:18; 16:2).
From these verses, it’s obvious that Christ’s peace is not a product of tranquil circumstances. This is good news because no matter how chaotic our lives may be externally, we can have an internal sense of serenity through the Holy Spirit who lives within each believer. Jesus called Him the Helper who reminds us of His Word.
That’s why our first response in troubling situations should be to read and meditate upon Scripture. Then as we obey Christ’s commands, His life flows through us like sap from the vine to a branch (John 15:1-5, 10). Jesus described this as an abiding relationship. And wherever Christ’s Spirit abides, there His peace will be as well.