The Peace of Christ
Do you ever long for genuine, lasting peace? In our ever-changing world, tranquility can be hard to find. Just when we start to relax, something happens to upset the balance we’ve been trying to achieve.
At the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples, “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). He wanted them to experience God’s peace despite the terrifying events that would soon follow. Let’s take a closer look at each section of John 14:27.
1. “Peace I leave with you.”
The Holman Bible dictionary defines peace as a “sense of well-being and fulfillment that comes from God and is dependent on His presence.” Rather than expressing an absence of stress or conflict, the Hebrew word shalom and the Greek eireneindicate the presence of peace, health, restoration, salvation, and reconciliation with the Lord.
- How would your life be different if you enjoyed God’s peace more fully?
In John 14:27, Jesus encouraged His followers because they were distressed about His impending death. (See John 13.) Notice how the words in this sentence—“Peace I leave with you”—read like a last will and testament. Adam Clarke’s Commentary notes that “a wish of peace among them is thus to be understood: May you prosper in body and soul, and enjoy every earthly and heavenly good!”
- What prophesy is fulfilled because Jesus gives us inner stillness and restores our fellowship with the Father (Isa. 9:6)?
2. “My peace I give you.”
At first glance, these words seem to repeat the same concept as the first sentence. However, the emphasis is on the type of peace Christ offers—it belongs to Him alone. He offers us “eternal comfort and good hope by grace” (2 Thess. 2:16).
- Read John 14:1-6. How does this passage contribute to your sense of tranquility?
Notice that Christ gives His peace. Just like salvation, such quietness is a gift—not something we have to earn.
- What is required in order to experience this gift (Rom. 5:1)?
- Which member of the Trinity enables believers to experience peace on a daily basis (Gal. 5:22)?
3. “Not as the world gives, give I to you”
Jews of Christ’s day commonly wished each other peace out of courtesy. Although Jesus used similar words to reassure His followers, He truly had the power to give peace, and He still does today.
In western culture, we often look to tangible things for security. But only through Christ can we experience any assurance for the future. John Gill wrote, “The peace Christ gives is true, solid, substantial; the peace the world, the men, and things of it give, is a false one.”
- In your own experience, how have you found this statement to be true? Try to give a specific example.
- Accepting God’s gift of salvation doesn’t spare us from all hardship. Despite that fact, what does Jesus promise us in the midst of trouble (John 16:33)?
- At what point will the world think that all is well yet be completely wrong (1 Thess. 5:1-3)?
4. “Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
The disciples were distraught at Christ’s imminent departure, and He reassured them that they shouldn’t be afraid. Notice that His statement is a command. Jesus assumed that His followers could control their emotions. Colossians 3:15 echoes this principle: “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . . and be thankful.” With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can resist the temptation to give into fear and anxiety.
- In what practical way(s) could you “let the peace of Christ rule in your heart” (Col. 3:15)?
- What is the key to walking in peace (Rom. 8:6; Isa. 26:3)?
- Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Notice that this verse doesn’t guarantee that the Lord will change our circumstances. What does it promise instead?
- What do you think that means in a practical sense?
Conclusion: Believers often believe a lie, thinking that peace can be found in success, prosperity, positive experiences, or certain relationships. But the only source of lasting tranquility is found in the presence of Jesus. What the world has to offer will crumble under pressure. But God’s peace has the ability to carry His people through every hardship.
Prayer: As you end this study, write down the various stressors that rob you of peace. Pray over the list, surrendering each struggle to the Father. Choose to let go of every worry, and allow Christ to rule your heart. You may want to shred or burn the list as a symbol of your trust in the Lord.