Read John 14:27-31
Jesus was leaving the disciples, and he was speaking straight with them. He has said three things up to this point. First he was going to prepare a place for them and would return for them (John 14:1-6). Second, he says that they will be able to do greater things than he has done (John 14:7-15). Third, he promises to send the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-26). These things Jesus had said to both console them in his absence and to give them a glimpse at what life was going to be like after Jesus left the earth to return to the Father.
Next, Jesus promises peace. Jesus probably says that he gives peace twice to make it emphatic. The Greek word “ειρηνη” translated “peace” is used to describe a state of tranquility and serenity. In the context of nations, this generally means that nations are not at war with other nations, but for believers, it means to be in a state of tranquility in the midst of turmoil. Jesus tells them to not let their hearts be troubled and to not be afraid. What is certain is that the disciples were anything but at peace later on. When Jesus resurrected from the dead, he appears among them in and speaks “peace” to them three times (John 20:19-29) perhaps to remind them of what he told them and to calm their fear, as it is highly unusual to see someone who they knew had died walking around in the same room as them!
In Hebrew thought, “peace” in the form of the word “שׁלום” was and is often used as a greeting. Paul, when opening his letters often would include a declaration of peace to the addressee (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, etc.). Peace is used in the context of the gospel (Ephesians 6:15) and used to describe God (Romans 15:33, Romans 16:20, 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 13:20). The case with peace in the context of God is that God is trying to break down areas of possible conflict and dividing walls that should otherwise not divide believers. Ephesians 2:14-19 describe Jesus as tearing down dividing walls and reconciling everyone into one peace with God. As mentioned before, peace for the believers is not freedom from strife, as the world has plenty to offer, but rather an inner peace that comes from knowing God. Paul says that Christians should let their gentle spirits be known to all men, and in anxiety pray to God. In doing so, the peace of God that surpasses understanding – that means it’s incomprehensible – will guard one’s heart and mind (Philippians 4:4-6).
For believers today, the demands for one’s time and energy are great. Not only that, but there are assaults that come from every direction whether in the form of persecution, temptation, or disagreement. It is difficult in most any circumstances to remain gentle and at peace. Rather than creating barriers between oneself and God and oneself and other believers, Paul says that the solution to this problem is making supplication before the father. There is no guarantee that the circumstances will be alleviated or even diminished. What is guaranteed is that the peace of God will guard one’s heart and mind in Christ Jesus – it will bring one back to Jesus who is the peacemaker between God and men!
Lord, help me to remember the source of peace when turmoil of whatever kind comes my way!