From Drama and Chaos to Peace

Ephesians 2:13 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…

There is no greater drama in history than that of the Son of God being put to death by sinful men and then that this dead person, Jesus Christ be raised from the dead, appear before many people and ascend to heaven with a sure plan to return and destroy the earth as we know it, remake it, destroy sin, and lead all of His followers to paradise to live forever.

This is high drama. It would have even appeared, in the midst of this plan being carried out, it would appear to be chaotic, chaotic to those who followed Him in the first century yet it has led to peace: From chaos and drama to peace. This is the gospel.

This resurrection Sunday morning, I want to talk about drama and chaos and I want to talk about peace.

The drama is clear. When we read of the majesty of Jesus Christ and of His role in the creation and maintaining of the world in places like Colossians 1, it is stunning, really, to consider His capture and torture by men, the very ones He created.

Here is Colossians 1:15-19

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…

He is the Creator of all things, things that we see and things that we don’t see. He is therefore preeminent over all things as Creator, He holds all things together, He is the great overseer and all powerful maintainer and all the fullness of the Father is in Him.

What does this mean? It means that whatever happens to Him or to anyone or anything else, it must be filtered through His hands and allowed by Him. Everything!

Nothing happens apart from His allowing it. Certainly this causes challenges for us as humans. It causes challenges because we see things around us and sometimes cannot fathom why they happen and more importantly why God let them happen. We are a people who want to know why about a lot of things and sometimes we ask why as if we have some right to know why, when in reality we don’t have that inherent right.

We don’t have to figure out all the whys of every situation that we see in this world, we only need to know the Who of who God is and that He is Lord over it all. The drama of the crucifixion of Christ is so enormous at least in part because of who it is that died on that cross; the One who died there is the One who could have stopped it. The One who received the pain and agony and suffered so greatly is the One who could have stopped it. The One who seemed to be caught up in the emotion and hatred of man was the One who allowed such emotion and hatred against Him.

I mean if Jesus really is the preeminent One, the creator of all, the sustainer of all, and if He does rule over all, then that would include ruling over His own death on the cross. It is the knowing who He is that creates the drama of what was done to Him.

He gave Himself for this moment of crucifixion. All sacrifice is giving. If you sacrifice your time to help me you are giving to me. If I sacrifice for you by providing your next meal, I am giving to you. Jesus gave Himself on the cross for you and for me. He had to give His life for no one could take it from Him.

Here is how Jesus says this in John 10:

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.

Think of all the people who were taking in these words! Think of those who were convinced or almost convinced that Jesus was their Savior, that He would be the one who would put oppression down, who would strike evil from the world, who would make all things right for them where they lived. Sure, he talks about being a sacrifice, about laying down His life; but for most, the idea of dying on a cross was totally unexpected, even for His closest followers.

This is where the drama and even chaos comes in – expectations vs. what will happen right before their eyes. Expectations of a great ruling powerful delivering King yet what they will witness is a bloody crucifixion and agonizing death.

Some things are hard to swallow. In our lives today things can be hard to swallow. Our expectations and the reality that follows can be worlds apart.

And here is the thin: We think that if our expectations do not come to fruition then something went terribly wrong when the reality is often that things went just right for our good.

The followers of Jesus were confused and stunned by the death of Jesus. Drama and chaos was their experience as they watched Him being taken, beaten and put to death.

Yet through these events, throughout this drama, through what looked like chaos comes peace!

Through the drama and perceptions of chaos comes peace! Here is why: Why is because after his tragic yet planned death when the two Mary’s went to the tomb to care for His body the unexpected happened:

Matthew 28:5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen…”

Our entire faith as Christians, everything we stand for and believe, all of it hinges on the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today, everything. If He is not risen then we are dead in our sins. If He did not rise then we will not rise either. If He did not come back to life then there is no eternal life for us in paradise. In fact Paul says:

I Corinthians 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Such a turn of events! And His resurrection was no secret; it was not known to one or two people but was a widespread truth.

I Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

He is risen! And the raising of Jesus, the central truth of our faith, came out of what looked like an irreparable hope-dashing tragedy of the crucifixion.

This is redemption. This is what God does. Fixes what is broken, repairs what has been destroyed, from death on the cross to eternal life having been raised. And for us, broken lives, sinful lives without hope to new life in Christ with a sure hope of eternal life.

Now as a way of showing the magnificence of God’s plan and Christ’s willing death and the glory of the resurrection I want us to go to Ephesians 2 verse 14 and consider what is there, what is there for us, and what came from this dramatic story. The verse says simply this:

Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…

Let’s just look at the first 6 words…”for He Himself is our peace.” Because of Christ, because of His death and because of His resurrection, we have peace. Or you could say, without the drama of the cross, the death of Christ, and then the resurrection of Jesus there would be no true, real peace. We would remain in our brokenness, hopeless in our endeavors, lost and heading to hell. Without the work of Christ, peace would be illusive.

Christ is our peace. Jesus alone is our peace. Isaiah 9:6 says “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” There is no other source for peace. What laws, ordinances, ceremonies, sacrifices, and good deeds could not do to make peace between men and God, Jesus did. Those things could neither bring men into harmony with God or with each other.

How our world today cries for peace. Where can you turn and not hear this desperate cry for peace? The world is starved for peace. Wives are crying for peace within their families. Children desperately seek peace in their broken homes. City and county officials strive for peace among their citizens. Governments seek peace between nations. The world is crying peace, peace, but there is no peace. Why? Why has peace not come to so many who so desperately seek it? It is because they are seeking peace without God. Man seeks for peace apart from God. But there is no peace without God. You can’t find it.

Some may falsely even believe that they have found peace apart from Christ but it will not last. Some believe that in our day of enlightenment and civility, that peace is just over the horizon. In Jeremiah chapter 6 remember what the people cried in the midst of perverse times? Verse 13, “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain.” (It sounds a lot like our day.) “And from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely 14 and they have healed the brokenness of My people superficially…” They thought peace had come. Look at our country. People appear content with good economic times. Everyone is fed and clothed. The job market looks promising. We have unprecedented economic growth. Many are proclaiming that peace and prosperity has come. That is what Israel was proclaiming. Look at what they said: “Peace, peace, but there is no peace.” It was a superficial peace. It was a deceptive peace. There was no real peace.

It is Jesus who is our peace. Only in Him do we find peace. We will not find peace if our current problem is solved; only in Jesus do we find peace. He came for this: He came to bring us peace. He said in John 14:27 “Peace I give to you; my peace I leave with you. Do not let your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.” When did He say this? Just before he was taken, beaten, mocked, tortured, crucified and raised from the dead.

All that had to happen for this peace to be ours and He did it all.

Are you tired? Are you just worn out? Are you fed up with life? Are you down over circumstances? Do you know what the solution is? It is a person, it is Jesus. What does that mean? It means, go to Him, cry out to Him, follow Him, worship Him…and most of all believe Him and believe what He has done. In thinking of Peace let’s consider Psalm 77. A man, Asaph, is troubled and crying out to God in the chaos of life

Psalm 77:1 I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. 2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. 3 When I remember God, I moan; when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah 4 You hold my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak. 5 I consider the days of old, the years long ago. 6 I said, “Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.” Then my spirit made a diligent search: 7 Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? 8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion? Selah 10 Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High. 11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12 I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. 13 Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? 14 You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples. 15 You with your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. Selah 16 When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. 17 The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; your arrows flashed on every side. 18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. 19 Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. 20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

There is no greater drama in history than that of the Son of God being put to death by sinful men and then that this dead person, Jesus Christ be raised from the dead, appear before many people and ascend to heaven with a sure plan to return and destroy the earth as we know it, remake it, destroy sin, and lead all of His followers to paradise to live forever.

This high drama is the gospel message that is our peace.