“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”- John 14:27
What is the peace that Christ offers us, different from what the world has? Perhaps the clue to this lies in the surrounding verses that center on love- loving Jesus and therefore keeping his commandments and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
And what is the greatest sign of love? “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
Serving at once as a prophetic statement of what Jesus was about to do and a teaching about what true love and devotion to God and our fellow brothers and sisters means truth is there. Sometimes it’s hard for me to really grasp what it meant for Christ to give His life for mine and yours.
One of the greatest compliments I ever received was from my cross country coach, who said I would be willing to take a bullet for someone. I’d like to think that’s true, but I don’t know. Can you ever know before you’re there?
Anyway, it still is hard for me to grasp that reality. Luckily, literature and film are filled with types and shadows of Christ that help me understand what Christ sacrificed for me. Aslan in Narnia, Aragorn, Frodo and Gandalf in LOTR, Optimus Prime in Transformers, Thor, Sidney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities, Superman almost always, arguably Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy and none other than Harry Potter.
This passage from the end of the series encapsulates that feeling of self-sacrifice and the power that that love gives us over death and evil. [Credit to a good friend, Heather, for quoting this on Facebook, inspiring in part this post.]
“You won’t be killing anyone else tonight,” said Harry as they circled, and stared into each other’s eyes, green into red. “You won’t be able to kill any of them ever again. Don’t you get it? I was ready to die to stop you from hurting theses people–“
“But you did not!”
“–I meant to, and that’s what did it. I’ve done what my mother did. They’re protected from you. Haven’t you noticed how none of the spells you put on them are binding? You can’t torture them. You can’t touch them.”
Love protects us and our friends. It calls on us to do hard things, to be willing to die for God and those that we care about. Sure, most of us probably won’t be asked to literally give our lives, but it could happen. I mean, with how wicked the world is becoming and everything 😉
It doesn’t seem like there’s much peace involved there. Yet, for me, the peace is in knowing that I’m doing what feels right, following my convictions of what is true and “the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Sometimes it comes with an anxiousness or uneasy feeling that you’ve gotta do something. Maybe you don’t know what that is or feel like whatever it is you have to do is totally inadequate. Like Speed Racer, who said in response to a similar concern, “Maybe not, but it’s[racing] the only thing I know how to do and I gotta do something.”
Harry Potter didn’t start off wanting to die to save the world, that happened after a journey of 7 books (and 8 movies). And maybe that’s why I understood more what Christ did for me because of HP- I grew up with him and felt like maybe, just maybe, I could be Harry.
I imagine that Harry or Christ could have used these words, penned by Dickens for Sidney Carton (and quoted by Commissioner Gordon at Bruce’s grave), “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
Love saved Harry. Love saved Christ. Love saves Me. Love saves Us. Sometimes though, it’s our love that needs to do the saving.