“Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor fear” (John 14:27 Geneva Bible, 1599).
What is the “world” that Jesus speaks of here? Did He not create the world? He is not speaking of the mysterious beauty of the night sky in the winter nor the majestic peaks of snow-capped mountains in the spring. Rather, the Lord is here referring to the system of opposition to God that has been born out of the rebellion of the Fall. “The world” is the collective powers of tyranny that conspire to resist the rule of God and of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This system is so pervasive that it extends from those who actively fight against God to the elemental things of the universe that are held in bondage to the fall.
We live in this world at war with God. Yet, we are invited by Jesus Christ to receive His peace in the crossfire. That means we can have peace in the midst of conflict—international, political, or even relational—, and closer to home, amidst failing health, painful pasts, injustices, and the daily pains and problems that come to each of us in their own grim indecency.
The larger context of this chapter is the gift of the Holy Spirit. He, the eternal God, is the sublime gift of the Lord to us. He is our Comforter as our Savior is away for this season in heaven, soon to return. The means for access to Him is faith. He leads us, then, to pray to the Lord Jesus. The Spirit always leads us to Jesus. Are you burdened? Do you believe? Then, you believe by virtue of the Spirit. So, come to Jesus. Today is the day of peace for you: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11: 28 ESV).
I want to be of pastoral help to you. I want to prescribe a musical cordial to pair with your devotions this morning. Through the means of technology, I want to share the graceful pastoral music of Gerald Finzi (1901-1956), one of the most prolific English church musicians of the twentieth century. The music is accompanied by serene images from the English and Welsh countryside, suggestive of its Creator’s harmonious, sovereign rule amidst the disturbances of this often-turbulent life. Christ is the calm in the storm. Seek Him today by humble prayer. Even a few moments will infuse your earth-bound spirit with eternity and re-balance your possible myopic perspective. What that will do to your body I cannot claim to profess, for I am a layman in such things. I would hope for good. What it will do to the inner-man, the pulsating life of your eternal soul, is inestimably good. This I know.
Perhaps, you will join me to pray, simply:
“Lord Jesus, grant me Thy peace.”