( A Commentary on John 14: 27-31)
Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.” (John 14:27-31)
This had to be both a sad and troubling moment for the disciples of Jesus. They know that this last supper with him was placing them in unchartered waters. They would be without the person whom they had given up their life to be with.
So, Jesus gives them a gift . . . the gift of peace. At that moment, they may not have fully understood what that meant but it was Jesus Christ telling them not to be” troubled or afraid.”
In the weeks and months that followed that supper, each of them came to understand that gift of peace. Each of them would overcome worldly strife, pain and even death. Yet, each died in peace.
Why do so many of us find that peace so elusive? Why do so many of us find peace so fleeting?
Because we are looking in the wrong places.
The vast majority of people haven’t truly based their lives on God but instead place their treasure in things that won’t last. Jesus described the path of peace and happiness in the Beatitudes, but few really live by what he teaches us.
Many place their peace in money rather in God’s kingdom, and if the stock market takes a dive, if the economy goes into recession, if the gas bill skyrockets, they immediately are destabilized. Jesus says that the path of peace, his faith, is the path of spiritual poverty than finds its true wealth in what thieves can’t destroy, rust can’t corrode, or the IRS can’t tax or confiscate.
Many place our peace in other people’s affection and admiration, but this, too, is insecure. As soon as someone turns on us, rightly or wrongly, we lose our peace. Jesus, on the other hand, teaches us that if our peace is founded on him, we won’t lose it even when people revile us and utter all kinds of evil against us falsely because of him.
Many place their peace on a political figure or a political ideology. When that person ultimately disappoints or that ideology turns to be based on greed, they lose their peace and frantically seek another worldly answer.
Jesus ultimately says that our peace needs to be based on hungering and thirsting for righteousness, for holiness, for a just relationship with God. If we have this, then we can’t lose it, even under trial.
That’s the ultimate ground for the peace he gives us and leaves with us. Our peace is grounded in our living relationship with him, the Prince of Peace. It is made possible by the peace treaty he signs in his own blood with God the Father through his mercy
It’s made possible by the gift of the Holy Spirit that he and the Father send. We see both fully on display at Easter when Jesus enters the closed doors of the Upper Room, twice wishes his startled followers peace, and then says “Receive the Holy Spirit” and “those whose sins you forgive are forgiven.”
If Jesus is our way, truth and life, if we’ve built our existence on him as the cornerstone, then persecution, trouble, or even death can’t take that peace away but rather only confirms it as his gift to us.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, may your peace be always with me. May no troubling thought, trial or affliction rob me of the peace which passes all understanding. You, alone, O Lord, are my Peace. May I always reside in that peace by believing in your word and by doing your will.”
Jesus says to you and me, I give you peace right in the midst of trouble, right in the midst of distress and turmoil and heartache and pressure. I can impart peace to your heart right there, and not as the world gives. How? Why? Because we can return to that basic relationship we have–You in Me, and I in you.
Out of that comes the guarantee that He is working out His purposes. He will bring us to the end of the trouble. He will still the storm and quiet the waves. We rest in the boat, content, knowing, no water can swallow the ship, where lies the Master of ocean and earth and sky. That is peace.