Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14:27 NRSV
When nations have been at war and when one is defeated, there are conditions for surrender and to forge peace between them. When two people or two groups of people have been at odds with the other, they must make a compromise or make concessions to achieve peace between them. In other words both sides must give up something or some things for the mutual benefit of peace between them.
While guns may no longer be fired and bombs may no longer be detonated, there remains suspicion between the former enemies. While heated words may have subsided the cycle of “You did too/I did not” has been stilled, there is a sense of mistrust and skepticism. Will they adhere to the conditions of surrender? Will they uphold their part of the compromise? Will they make good their concessions? This is the peace that we attempt to create. This is the peace the world gives!
Jesus offers us a different peace … a peace that the world cannot give. Jesus offers us a perfect peace. The setting for these words of Jesus is shortly before His death on the cross, and He speaks these words to comfort and encourage His disciples. He is aware of the dangers, obstacles, and temptations they will face. In verse 21, Jesus says, “They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” That explains why the disciples” hearts should not be troubled and why the disciples should not be afraid. Jesus offers them … us … a perfect peace.
“Peace in the Midst of the Storm,” a painting by Jack E, Dawson shows a tiny bird sheltered in a cleft of rock while torrents of water pour all around him and lightning flashes in the background. The bird sits serenely amidst all of the chaos around him and illustrates for us a perfect peace of knowing God’s presence and protection when fears and troubles could easily overwhelm us.
Lord, thank You for modeling perfect peace as You slept in the boat on the storm-tossed sea. Thank You for granting peace to Your disciples so that their hearts would not e troubled or afraid. Bless us with this perfect peace we humbly ask and help us to keep Your commandments so as to demonstrate our love for You. Amen.