“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
Just prior to coming to Christ I was a mess. It was arguably the most terrifying time of my life. Without an education or a job I was faced with the possibility of divorce and raising two toddlers on my own. There was no peace until the Prince of Peace entered my heart and I was changed. Then there was “Peace like a river in my soul!” It was momentous and mysterious but palpable and exciting at the same time.
Recently, while reading John 14, I was reminded of this overwhelming peace. It was important to Jesus that His disciples understand what He was leaving them. It was a peace that was eternal and came from Him, not from the world. Also, this gift of peace is what Jesus chose to give those He loved most before His death. Because of this, it must grieve Him deeply when we choose not to unwrap the gift which is available to every one of God’s children.
Let’s imagine what it would have been like and what you and I would have thought while listening to Jesus’ words. Like His disciples, I think we would have been confused and mumbled, “What is He talking about?” And after Jesus’ arrest the fear would have escalated to sheer panic. Perhaps we would have even cried out, “Where’s God now?” Clinging to Jesus’ love for them and His promise of a Helper, all His disciples, save John, scattered and hid hoping to wait out the trial and somehow, someway be delivered from the nightmare. The world offered them no peace yet real peace was coming soon in the form of a gift sent from heaven.
The verses below demonstrate the profundity of Jesus’ gift:
- “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33
- “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” John 20:19
Even so, no one apart from Christ can experience lasting peace because eternal peace is only found in Christ. In the disciples defense, they didn’t have the privilege of being in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit, but we do. Why, then, do we run and scatter when trials come our way? I can confess that, for me, it’s because I still look for peace in the world and even from other people. Unlike the time of my conversion when His peace was so palpable because He was all I was clinging to, I am comfortable and at peace with my husband and family and the circumstances of my life. However, I find myself scattered, anxious and overwhelmed in my spirit with the peace this world has to offer.
Therefore, today I’m choosing to open the gift “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving and let my requests be made known to God.” In this way I can abide in Him and allow His peace that surpasses understanding to guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7). It is the best post redemptive present available to everyone who knows the Prince of Peace. What are you waiting for? Open the gift!