His Peace (John 14:27)
It is true that God has given us many precious and magnificent promises. One of those promises is for peace, His peace. Now true and real peace – the kind that God gives – is hard to come by these days; it’s difficult to find.
When I was a little boy, my brother and I went for a walk with my father in the woods. We were excited. Together we were on the lookout for wildlife, to find as many animals as we could. But, my brother and I got distracted and began to incessantly talk, make noise, and fool around. We were only about 5 and 6 years old at the time. So, according to the story, my dad, who was walking in front of us, had to turn around repeatedly and ask us to quiet down for a moment. “Hey boys”, he said, “Let’s get real quiet. The quieter we walk, the more likely we are to spot some animals, rabbits, birds, maybe a fox or even a deer.” Well, for a moment we took that advice, but it soon left our heads and we began again, eventually arguing with each other about something. I don’t remember what. At one point, we lifted our heads to see where dad was, and guess what, he was nowhere to be found. We looked up and there was no father! Let me tell you, the lack of peace in my heart was dreadful. Instantly I was filled with fear. “Where did dad go?”
There are times in our Christian lives when we ask, “Where did my father go?” There are times in our lives when we encounter difficult circumstances, various, never-ending challenges of all sorts, from all quarters. These can be financial, physical or health wise. Many challenges or distressful experiences can be momentary; some can be lengthy and drawn out. Regardless, both experiences often elicit the cry from our hearts, “Where did my Father go? I desire peace but cannot find it.” It appears that our Father has left the path in front of us. We don’t know where He’s gone or what He’s up to. In the woods that day my father rejoined us a few seconds later, but sometimes it seems that our heavenly Father remains absent for long periods of time.
Jesus Promises His Peace
Now this is the scenario the disciples were facing. They were anxious and unsettled, distressed, as it were, and in need of courage. Why? They were not sure what God was doing. They were confused by what Jesus was telling them concerning His imminent departure from this world. Even though He promised the coming of the Spirit so as not to leave them as orphans, they were discouraged and their hearts were lacking the courage required to face the potential persecution about which Jesus was speaking. Knowing their condition, Jesus speaks compassionately to them again and offers them His perfect peace. And just as He spoke to them then, so He speaks to us now.
He says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you; I do not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in courage.” I would like to point out a couple things from this passage to encourage you on the Pathway with Christ, especially when you are struggling with fear, distress or lacking in courage.
First of all, did you notice as you read the passage what comes before it? Jesus knows where we’re at emotionally and so on. He knows when we’re lacking courage. He knows when we’re distressed and we’re fearful of the future. He knows. He fully understands whatever it is you’re facing right now. He knows that you have come to place your complete and unwavering trust in Him and He wants you to know without a doubt in your heart that He is more than capable to guide you. He is super abounding in grace and can give you the peace in Him you seek.
So He comes to His disciples in John 14.27 and says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.” Notice that Jesus says, “my peace”. He says that it is His peace. It is not the peace offered by the world, that’s given contingently, here today and gone tomorrow, like a pleasure of some sort. No, this is the very peace that Jesus himself possesses in His person and wants to gift us. It is His Shalom, i.e., the sense of spiritual well-being that, even right, smack-dab in the middle of trials and circumstances, pushes up through our hearts and floods our very being with the knowledge that God is in control and that His eye is upon us. As the apostle Paul teaches us in Philippians 4:6-7, God’s peace transcends circumstances. At one and the same time, it both grants us the awareness that God is protecting our hearts and yet it passes all understanding. It’s Jesus’ peace. It is permanent. It is true. It comes from a Father who has never left the pathway with us.
The peace Jesus offers is the peace that He shares with His Father and the Spirit and that He secured for us through His reconciling cross work. It is the peace of an unbroken and unbreakable Trinitarian fellowship. Through Christ’s sacrifice and the ministry of the indwelling Spirit, we are invited into that Shalom, into that divine community wherein everything is at rest. In fact, Jesus refers to inter-Trinitarian life as a home that He will bring to us (John 14:23). Jesus wants to stress this as the first point. It is His peace that He offers to the disciples then and it is His peace that He offers us now.
The second observation from John 14.27 is that, from this place of real peace we can move forward with confidence and not succumb to fear, distress, or a lack of courage. “If God is for us”, as Paul says, “who can (possibly) be against us” (Rom 8:31)? You can trust God. Jesus warned us that in this world we would face many troubles. But, he said, “Take heart, I have overcome the world! (John 16:33)!
Our Lord is on the Pathway with us. He promises us His peace which transcends whatever we’re going through. So, let us turn from unbelief, a distressed heart, and a lack of courage to find all that we need in Him.
God bless you as you meditate on this passage and think through what Jesus is offering. He desires to give you His peace, regardless of the circumstances surrounding you.