John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
It’s an interesting word Jesus chooses to tell us we have his peace: “Peace I leave with you.” It communicates not only the transfer of peace to us from Jesus, but also says that he is going away. This is peace he is leaving behind for us because he himself is leaving this world, at least in a way that we can see him anymore.
You know that path of his departure. Just hours after he said these words he let himself be betrayed even though he knew about the plot against him. He let himself be arrested though he was guilty of no crime. He did not defend himself against false accusations, or unprovoked beatings and mocking. He did not object to his death sentence or his crucifixion. And after he suffered the full penalty for the sins of the world, not a single one of which was his own, he commended his spirit to his Father and gave up his life. Three days later he rose again, and over the next forty days he made visits to those who believed in him, but this world was no longer the place where he lived. He had left, and on the fortieth day he demonstrated that by his Ascension into heaven.
Thus, Jesus has not only left us peace. His leaving, his way home through all he suffered for us, is our peace. It’s the reason we know that God isn’t some cold, celestial banker about to foreclose on our bodies and souls, taking away our spiritual life and freedom for all that we have failed to pay or do. Jesus has already paid off all we owed. We are forgiven. It’s the way we know that God loves us, really loves us, so much that there is no sacrifice too big for him to make if it will rescue us. No sin is left on our record, no strain is left in our relationship with God. All that’s left is peace, the peace that Jesus gives.
Perhaps it goes without saying that Jesus doesn’t give peace “as the world gives.” It’s not a peace where everyone gets a long because they have hammered out a compromise and a truce, or because people are forced to get along by the iron fist of heartless government, or because grandma’s here and everyone is on their best behavior. It’s not the peace that ends war, crime, or family squabbles.
It’s the peace we have in Jesus in spite of all that stuff. When the people we love die, we still mourn, but not like those who have no hope. When our relationships come apart, we may have plenty of heartburn and indigestion over it. But we still have a solid relationship with Jesus, and that makes it possible for us to keep going forward. When we mess up because of our own selfishness, or mean streak, or immaturity, we may feel genuine shame and guilt. But we can confess our sin and know that it is all forgiven. Jesus has left us his peace.
So do not let your hearts be troubled. Until Jesus returns he leaves us his peace to settle our hearts.