Peace (John 14:27)

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

John 14:27

There are several thoughts in this verse and I want to look at each one individually before taking them as a whole.

(1) Peace I leave with you. The world is chaotic and things are anything but peaceful. Jesus leaves peace to His disciples. This is vital, since their world is about to be shaken to its foundation. I, too, have God’s peace available to me any time my world is shaking.

(2) My peace I give to you. Jesus specifies what manner of peace this is. The Greek word used can mean a multitude of things — harmony, security, safety, prosperity, felicity, tranquility — but Jesus’ specificity leaves no room for many of those interpretations as we might understand them. We are safe as Jesus was safe — and Jesus was about to go to the cross. We are prosperous as Jesus was prosperous — and He had no home and very few possessions. We have harmony as Jesus had harmony — He was hated in His time. What He gives is not what we generally think. He does not keep me from difficulties, but He does keep me through difficulties. I have security in Him and know that my soul is safe in His keeping and know that there are blessings stored up for me in Heaven, the greatest of which is the blessing of seeing Him face-to-face.

(3) not as the world gives do I give to you. When it comes to any of the potential meanings of the Greek word translated peace, the world can only give me the illusion of the thing. The world can only offer sham security and the illusion of safety and, at best, a temporary prosperity. This says nothing of how pathetically inadequate or transient the world’s felicity is. Jesus gives me what will remain for all eternity. When time and space are gone, still I will be secure in Him and safe in His hands and dwelling in the richness of His glory.

(4) Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. Because my heart will be troubled and fearful if I allow it to be. The word troubled can also be rendered agitated or anxious. Paul echoes this command — though he uses a different word for anxious — when he writes to the church at Philippi. He tells them to be anxious for nothing, but to seek out God’s peace by making their requests known to God by prayer and supplication (Philippians 4:6-7). The choice is my own whether I allow my heart to be troubled or bring my cares before God and receive His peace. Jesus calls attention to this fact when He tells His disciples to now let their hearts be troubled or fearful.

This all fits together. Our world will sometimes be shaken; shaken down to its very bedrock, but God offers His peace in the most permanent sense. We should not allow ourselves to be troubled or afraid of the things we see happening — and the things we see are often troubling and fear-inducing — but should remember that God has us safe in His hands; secure in His love.

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