Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Six days before the Jewish Passover, Jesus and His disciples came to Jerusalem. At the Passover meal, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, giving them an example to follow, then opened His heart and talked with them. So important was it that John recorded it explicitly. You'll find it in the Gospel that bears his name, beginning with chapter thirteen.
In this discourse, Jesus said candidly, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). Knowing that His time was short, He gave them a legacy of peace. What a legacy! There are some who are tremendously successful and acquire millions. They have real estate, stock, companies, yachts and airplanes, and leave behind a legacy of millions, yet all the money in the world cannot buy what Jesus left to His own--peace!
Jesus emphasized "my peace" and contrasted it with the kind the world offers. Read history and you will discover that peace treaties usually last not much longer than it takes for the ink to dry on them. Every treaty that has ever been made has eventually been broken, but the legacy of peace Jesus brought endures forever.
For a moment, think about the one who spoke those words. If those who were with Jesus, who recorded His words, are accurate in their descriptions, Jesus was the picture of tranquility even though He knew the storm was about to break. The day before Jesus met with the disciples, He had driven the money changers out of the temple, making enemies who wanted to kill Him.
He also knew the disciples would flee in the face of danger and confrontation. Peter boasts, "I'll never forsake you, Lord," and Jesus said, "Peter, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times!" He also knew that Judas was ready to betray Him. The opposite of peace is panic, yet Jesus was steadfast and resolute.
At that Passover table were the twelve who had walked with Him for three years, yet I believe Jesus looked beyond those who sat at that table. He saw the young couple whose child would be born with Down’s Syndrome, who would never quite be like other children. He saw the husband whose wife would die in the doctor's office following a simple routine procedure, leaving behind three small children. He saw the couple whose life savings would be wiped out, the result of buying a stock that had become worthless. Yes, He saw the families of those who were killed ruthlessly and without cause by terrorists.
And He stands with arms outstretched today with the same message to His own. "My peace," he says, "I give to you!"
As we think of the future, if there is one answered prayer that I might have, it would be for God to give our troubled world lasting peace, and for you as His child to know His peace--the kind which Scripture describes as going beyond human understanding (see Philippians 4:7).
A closing thought. Should you be contacted by a lawyer and informed that an unknown relative of yours had included you in her will and bestowed upon you a great legacy of wealth, how would you feel? And more important, what would you do? Ignore the call, presuming that it was a fraud, or would you respond to find out more about this possible windfall?
In the Upper Room, Jesus gave you a legacy of peace! Find out about it. It's the answer to your troubled heart, the answer to the storms that threaten you.
Resource reading: John 13:1-17.