Thursday, April 24, 2014


John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Jesus warned His disciples of His imminent departure from them: “Little children, yet a little while I am with you” (John 13:33; Cf. John 14:28).  They had good reason to be troubled by the prospect.  They had abandoned all to follow Jesus.  He was their Master, they had devoted themselves to His cause.  They had been led and instructed by Him and they couldn’t imagine life apart from Him.  He was aware of their anxiety and counseled them, “Let not your heart be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).  He repeated that same admonition (i.e. “let not your hearts be troubled”) later in His conversation with them (Cf. John 14:27).

We should note, first of all, that Jesus is aware of our propensity to be troubled of heart.  Life in this sin-cursed world is filled with troubles of all different varieties.  Jesus would later warn His disciples, “In this world you have tribulation” (John 17:33).  How prone we are to be anxious amidst our troubles.  But it is good to know that “Jesus knows all about our struggles.”  In Him we have One who can “sympathize with our weaknesses,” having been “tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).  The disciples were troubled of heart and He was well aware of their need.

Peace has always been an elusive dream for those who dwell on this trouble filled planet.  Man instinctively yearns for the tranquility of soul that was lost to him as a result of the fall.  St. Augustine once said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until we find rest in Thee.”  But to this day the world works and plans and negotiates for peace to no avail.  There is a kind of peace that the world gives (John 14:27).  It is of the temporary and circumstantial variety.  It is insecure, easily forfeited, and never a tranquility of soul or sure antidote for the troubles that are sure to come.

Jesus promised to His disciples a peace of supernatural origin.  The Greek word translated peace in this passage is eirene.  According to Vine’s Expository it speaks of “the harmonized relationships between God and man, accomplished through the gospel…(and) the sense of rest and contentment consequent thereon.”  The term is related to the Hebrew shalom, which refers to “a harmonious state of the soul” (Vine’s).  Distinct from its worldly counterpart, Jesus promised to His disciples a tranquility of soul that was firmly rooted in their relationship with Him.  It was a peace that He Himself would give to them.

Later, in this same conversation with His disciples, Jesus said, “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 16:33).  In Him we can have peace.  We can possess tranquility of soul.  If we look for it elsewhere we will surely be disappointment, but “there is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God,” near to the Savior who loves us and died for us.  He has overcome the world.  He has conquered our greatest foes.  No trouble can assail us that He has not already triumphed over.  He is able, by His presence, to set a garrison about our troubled-prone hearts and minds that we might experience “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

The disciples were troubled by the news of Jesus’ pending departure.  They had been troubled before on other occasions.  One day at sea a fierce gale arose and threatened to sink their boat.  Jesus was asleep in the stern.  “They woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing’” (Mark 4:38).  “And he awoke and rebuked the win and said to the sea, ‘Peace!  Be still!’  And the wind ceased, and there was great calm” (Mark 4:39).  He who rules the winds and the waves cares.  “He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey.”  If you’ve got “Jesus in your boat” you’ve no reason to fear.  He who brought a “great calm” to the storm-tossed seas is able to do the same in troubled-filled hearts.

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