“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
What does John mean when he quotes Jesus as saying Peace, I leave you; my peace I give to you?
Wishing "peace" was integral to bidding farewell back then. Even today, Jews and Arabs say "shalom" and "salaam," respectively, to wish "peace" while saying goodbye, as well as to greet. But Jesus' "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you" isn't a typical, worldly farewell: "not as the world gives do I give to you" (John 14:27). Therefore, we can rule out the concept of farewell.
If we read ahead in the Gospel a few more lines, we find several more verses which we can come to a conclusion on what Jesus was telling his apostles.
The Word of God
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. You heard me say to you, "I am going away, and I am coming to you." If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.
Jesus spoke from the depths of his heart to his dearest friends. He was facing his Passion. He wanted his friends to know that he is with them, his father is with them. Jesus’ farewell wish was ‘Peace!’ His gift of peace is not a state, but a relationship. It is the fruit of deeply abiding in him. This relationship will never fail. It will enable the disciples to endure suffering and rejection. This relationship was not limited to this world and will continue into the next world as well.
The peace that Jesus gave and still gives is available to everyone; You have to do nothing to receive it. But maybe that’s the problem – you want to do something to earn what Jesus offers as a free gift. If you receive something for nothing-many people do not realize the value of that gift.
The peace that Jesus promises is not an escape from trouble - the peace that the world gives - but rather the courage to face it calmly. As he spoke these words of peace, he was walking out to Gethsemane and his passion. Can you imagine how powerful the scene must have been? Knowing that he was about to offer his life on the cross, he was worried not about himself but of us.
This should be the direction of the peace that you seek: to be able to face sorrow and pain without the overwhelming fear that all is lost. Take solace in the actions of Jesus, when he was about to face one of the most frightening moments in his life here on earth. He encourages his friends not to be troubled or fearful. A big message that God gives to us is not to fear. God knows that we are easily made fearful, anxious, and troubled. At that moment God walks with us, hand in hand, with deep care, wanting us to be safe. Even when in fear or anxiety, we are safe because we belong to God. That is our peace. Peace can exist in the heart at times of great turmoil and trouble, pain and illness. The peace of Christ sort of invades us gently and fills the spaces of our personality which are open to peace and often need peace. It is the peace of healing and forgiveness, and the peace which comes from doing what we know to be our calling.
Sometimes, even within the toughest times of life, we can sense this peace of Jesus. That is why we should repeat Jesus' promise, making it your prayer for today, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." Quietly review your life, seeing what has helped your peace, recognizing what has broken it down. Then think of what you need to do to preserve this gift of peace that Jesus put in your heart.
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You are headed in the direction that Jesus wanted you to go- back to your Heavenly Father. Peace is a condition for our soul to be at rest with Jesus. Praise be to God always. Amen