in John's Gospel -- Part 3
Real Joy and Peace
By: A.J. Higgins, M.D.
A wedding and a Temple! The one reminds us of human joy
and happiness: the other of satisfying man's innermost
spiritual need. Here then are two very human
institutions and, as well, two divinely ordained
institutions. God has always been intensely interested
in man's joy and spiritual satisfaction. And, certainly,
man has been deeply interested in these as well.
Religions by the score have proliferated, all professing
to answer man's quest for inner satisfaction. A
hedonistic society caters to "happiness" and
From the inspired pen of John in his second chapter come
remarkable insights into these very subjects. John links
together a marriage feast (vs. 1-11) and a religious
temple (vs. 13-17). This link is neither accidental nor
insignificant. At the wedding feast with all it promised
for happiness and joy, something was missing: for the
mother of Jesus observed, "They have no wine."
But before further considering the significance of this,
look down the chapter to what follows: the scene shifts
to the Temple in Jerusalem at Passover season. (It could
just as easily and as accurately be any modern day
denomination or church.) The Lord Jesus entered the
outer court of the Temple and surveyed the scene. This
was not now a case of something lacking, but of
something added. He made a scourge of small cords and
drove out the sheep, oxen and money changers.
The marriage feast representative of life's joys comes
to a halt because something was absent; the scene of
promised spiritual satisfaction is divinely condemned
because something was added. These two conditions
accurately summarize the human condition. Our quest for
joy and inner peace remains an elusive, tantalizing
goal. The testimony and experience of each generation
is: "something absent, something added."
absent, something added...
these two conditions summarize the human
Is there a remedy? Or are we simply physicians
diagnosing an incurable illness? Look again at the
inspired page to see what answers the Word of God
Mary's instructions to the servants "Whatsoever He
saith unto you; do it" (vs. 5) and Christ's
insistence on the authority of His Father in spiritual
matters (vs. 16) teach us clearly that we must submit to
whatever the Bible, the Word of God, teaches.
And what, then, does it teach? While the subject of joy
and peace are developed later in John's Gospel, the
great secret of their possession is clearly stated by
Paul: "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace in believing" (Rom.
purchase of peace is revealed to us in Isa. 53:5:
"The punishment of our peace was upon Him." It
is in the sacrificial work of Christ upon Calvary that
sin, the great problem facing mankind, was dealt with to
God's satisfaction. Sin has robbed men of joy and been
the great barrier to communion with God (Isa. 59:1,2).
By trusting the finished work of Christ upon the cross,
mankind can know the joy for which the human heart was
made and the spiritual satisfaction for which he was
we safely leave our quest for joy and peace with
Many who have never trusted Christ as Savior may cavil
at the simplicity of the Bible's answer for peace with
God. They would argue that something more is needed:
religion, ritual, good deeds. To these we point to the
error in the Temple: adding to the Word of God. The
rationalist may object and deny the Word of God. By
taking away the Scriptures he leaves men without any joy
and peace in spiritual matters.
Can we safely leave our quest for joy and spiritual
peace with Christ? The last verse of our chapter assures
us of this, "He knew what was in man." The
Divine Creator has stepped into history to meet the need
of His creation. Who could better know how to satisfy
the human heart, than the One Who created it?