"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(NASB)
As the Cross drew ever closer, the solemnity of Christ's approaching passion blanketed the hearts of the confused disciples, whose earlier anticipation of the heavenly kingdom and their individual positions in it were quickly crumbling.
Understanding the perplexity in their hearts, the gracious Saviour offered words of compassion and comfort as He compressed His eternal love for them into a brief season, starting with these dear words of reassuring peace, comfort, and tender encouragement, "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."
That memorable night in which Christ was to share the final Passover with His disciples, wash the sweaty feet of each of His beloved followers, break bread and pass the cup of blessing, was to explode into the bitter-sweetness of Calvary's Cross. It was the night that heaven hushed, angels wondered, hell rejoiced, and time stood still.
The disciples eagerly anticipated their roles in the coming kingdom. They believed Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God Who had come to defeat their enemies. They expected Him to set up His kingdom and place them in positions of authority. They knew the Messiah would bring in a rule of peace and prosperity, as He had promised and as Scripture had revealed. They were fearful and confused that He was to leave them.
Earlier, Jesus had promised that they were to sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel. But now, they heard of that He was to leave them and be betrayed by one in their own number. They had just heard Jesus announce that Peter would deny Him three times, before the cock crowed in the morning.
These were the perplexing circumstances that surrounded Christ's little group of faithful followers, but this was the night that Jesus shared some words of comfort and consolation, that has blessed so many, down through the ages, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. It is not a worldly peace I give you, so don't be troubled, don't be fearful - fear not little flock."
Peace is incompatible in a world of sin, where turmoil within and confusion without, is the awful legacy of man's sinful rebellion against his Creator. But 'peace' was what Jesus promised His people, amidst the disturbing circumstances that loomed before His disciples. He was the One who offered peace with God to the lost sinner, who would place his trust in Him. But in this verse, He promised those who have trusted in Him, the perfect peace of God, an inner peace that flows from Christ through us. His peace is a heavenly peace that passes human comprehension.
No peace can rule in the bloodied heart of a man who is dead in his sins, but Christ's words of comfort to His little flock must have brought them great consolation on that last Passover night. And these same words have become a precious promise that all God's children cling to in this world of problems and pain.
The more we take the Word of the Lord to heart and trust in the many precious promises that are ours in Christ, the more we are enabled to appropriate these words of comfort in our everyday life. And as we seize hold of this truth in our heart, the more we discover that the perfect peace of God which passes understanding, will guard our hearts and protect our minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As we face the ever-increasing turmoil and confusion that reigns in this fallen world, let us fix our gaze on Jesus, knowing that God will keep us in perfect peace when our mind is focussed on Him. Let us take to heart His precious words of comfort, by holding fast to the truth of the glorious gospel of God and trusting His unchangeable Word.
Thank You, Father, for Your words of comfort. Help me to keep these precious words of Jesus at the forefront of my mind in this increasingly anti-God society, when the very foundations of earth are being shaken and all I believe in is being attacked. May my life be a walking witness to all I meet. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient, Your strength is made perfect in my weakness, Your peace passes understanding, and Your promises endure throughout all generations. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.