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My peace I give to you

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 kind of peace is it that Jesus gives? It is a positive good, more than the absence of enmity and strife; it is a gift of wholeness, being made well, reconciled, saved and knowing God. It is both inward and outward, both a matter of how we are within ourselves and how we are related to others. It is both horizontal and vertical. It is concerns our relationships on earth and above all how we are related to God. Indeed the key to all the other qualities of peace is in that primary relationship with God.

Peace and wholeness are brought together in the healing miracles of Jesus:-

From Old Testament times peace was understood as a general state of well being:

Peace was a result of being in a good relationship with God, of being look upon favourably by him:

Peacemakers are children of God:

But peace is not always with us. There is evil in the world. It is wrong to speak as if there were peace when there is none. Hard words might not be welcome, but smooth words to please the hearers have long been a stock in trade of false prophets and popular teachers. So it was necessary for prophets like Jeremiah to denounce false prophets who gave comforting words which not true, saying there was peace when there was none:

They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace. -- Jeremiah 6:14

Jesus was distressed when he entered Jerusalem on his last visit because although they welcomed him as one who had come to bring in a peaceful kingdom, they did not know what it meant, or how peace could be achieved:

In the early church too there could be a false sense of security:

All was not well in the earth. Evil had to be confronted and overcome, and there would be times of crisis and conflict:

The point is that people were separated from God and unable to recognize him and his Word:

Jesus knew that he had to face the hard realities.

In his farewell discourses Jesus was preparing the disciples for his departure, essentially to be prepared for his final battle and the gifts that would flow to them from his victory -- so he was to leave them peace through his suffering. It is his parting gift -- such as the world cannot give, because his way of giving through sacrifice is different from the way the world give through strength.

That was the fulfilment of the words of Isaiah which linked the suffering servant with the gift of peace:

It was necessary for him to confront the powers of evil in obedience to his Father's command, and he would bear the consequences,:

So it was that the fruit of the victory followed:

The prince of peace is the good shepherd who gathers the flock:

It was after he had done his work on the cross that he was able to greet his disciples with peace:

And so we receive the blessing of peace with God through what Christ won for us when he was clearly established as the Lord of all, as the apostles were to proclaim:

When we receive that message of the Lordship of Christ, established through his death and resurrection, we through faith are reconciled to God, we have peace with our Creator, and we begin to share in the process of transformation in which all things are made new in the peace of the kingdom. The renewed peace we have with God is the foundation of the great gift of peace to be shared by humanity in relationships between all sorts of people. It is another way of expressing the great commandment to love one another, now actually realized as the basic law to love God and love your neighbour has become a practical possibility. When the risen Lord Jesus stood before his disciples and said "Peace be with you", it was indeed a fulfilment of the promise made at his parting, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you". Now that he had conquered sin and death it was the gift of peace with God and amongst all those people who would hear the good news and believe it. May we all be so blessed. Praise to him through whom we have received the gift of peace. Amen.

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APPENDIX: Additional references

Peace I leave(1) 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. {28} 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. {29} And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. {30} I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; {31} 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. -- John 14:27-31

(John 14:27) `leave' peace is the same word as forgive' -- see word note

(1) "LEAVE" 863. aphiemi, af-ee'-ay-mee; from G575 and hiemi (to send; an intens. form of eimi, to go); to send forth, in various applications (as follow):--cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.

cf also NEB: Peace is my parting gift to you.

(John 14:31) cf. NEB: but the world must know that I love the Father, and do exactly as he commands; so up, let us go forward! CH Dodd: as NEB ... up let us march to meet him! ref conquest over the prince of this world. REB ... and am doing what he commands; come, let us go! Ox. annotated NRSV note: vv.28-31: To go the Father meant Jesus' self chosen conflict with the ruler of this world (i.e. Satan), whose power would be broken by death and resurrection.

Compare with shalom in the OT being a gift of wholeness; peace that comes from victory, not mere sessation of fighting, but a restoration of wholeness, which may come through suffering -- hence Isaiah 53:-

{5} But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole(1), and by his bruises we are healed. -- Isaiah 53:5

(Isa 53:5) See word note `whole' = shalom

(1) "WHOLE" 7965. shalowm, shaw-lome'; or shalom, shaw-lome'; from H7999; safe, i.e. (fig.) well, happy, friendly; also (abstr.) welfare, i.e. health, prosperity, peace:-- X do, familiar, X fare, favour, + friend, X greet, (good) health, (X perfect, such as be at) peace (-able, -ably), prosper (-ity, -ous), rest, safe (-ly), salute, welfare, (X all is, be) well, X wholly.

{23} I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. {24} And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken. {25} I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely. {26} I will make them and the region around my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. {27} The trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase. They shall be secure on their soil; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and save them from the hands of those who enslaved them. -- Ezekiel 34:23-27

{15} And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. -- Colossians 3:15

{18} If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. -- Romans 12:18

{22} By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, -- Galatians 5:22

{17} The effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever. -- Isaiah 32:17

{19} Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. -- Romans 14:19

World = humanity in rebellion against God---

{32} Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. {33} For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." -- John 6:32-33

{7} The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. -- John 7:7

{18} "If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. -- John 15:18

{3} Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. -- 1 Corinthians 1:3

{7} And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ..... {9} Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. -- Philippians 4:7-9

{20} and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross. -- Colossians 1:20

{13} But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. {14} For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. {15} He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, {16} and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. {17} So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; {18} for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. -- Ephesians 2:13-18

{19} When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." {20} After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. {21} Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." {22} When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. {23} If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." -- John 20:19-23

1. (John 14:31) cf. NEB: but the world must know that I love the Father, and do exactly as he commands; so up, let us go forward! CH Dodd: as NEB ... up let us march to meet him! ref conquest over the prince of this world. REB ... and am doing what he commands; come, let us go! Ox. annotated NRSV note: vv.28-31: To go to the Father meant Jesus' self chosen conflict with the ruler of this world (i.e. Satan), whose power would be broken by death and resurrection.

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