Study in John’s Gospel. Presentation 62. Peace Casts Out Fear Chap 14v27-31. Presentation 62. Introduction.
When H. G. Wells the famous author wrote, “Here I am at sixty-five, still seeking for peace”, he failed to realise that by rejecting Christ throughout the course of his life he had in fact rejected peace.
In the verses before us, ‘peace’ is presented as Christ's dying
bequest to his followers. It is his legacy to them. It is part
of the Christian’s inheritance. Jesus did not leave his
followers destitute or without comfort. And by
departing from this world he left his
The beautiful nature of this peace becomes apparent only when we notice the difficult circumstances against which these words were spoken and the condition of those whom Jesus addressed. Jesus spoke these words on the verge of his violent execution. And he spoke them to those who were already deeply distressed. It was in this situation that the legacy of peace was given.
Years ago a contest was held in which artists were to submit paintings or sculptures portraying their understanding of peace. Some showed beautiful sunsets, and pastoral scenes.
However, the prize-winner painted a bird in its nest, attached to a branch protruding from the edge of a thundering waterfall. This picture reflects Christ's legacy.
In pleasant surroundings it’s easy to be ‘at peace’. But
it takes a supernatural peace, to produce poise in the
midst of outward trouble and inner distress. Christ's
peace is just that, supernatural! And this is a peace
that believing men and women can experience in
spite of the vacillating nature of the world around
them, Jesus’ own absence, and the vigorous activity
of the devil and those under his influence.
Jesus’ giving is quite different. He gives sincerely out of a genuine love for his own. He gives effectively, bountifully, and at great personal cost - for his gift of peace cost him his life on the cross. And above all he gives to those who clearly need his gift.
Now the world’s understanding of peace also tends to be limited and essentially negative. The dictionary defines it as "a pact or agreement to end hostilities," "quiet," "freedom from civil disturbance or war," "freedom from fears." In contrast, Jesus’ peace is a harmonious and positive blessing, bringing about a right relationship with God from which all other good things come.
This distinction is apparent in Paul’s epistles. In Rom. 5v1, he speaks of "peace with God" which describes being brought into a new relationship with him and in Phil. 4v7 "the peace of God", which flows from the former.
Men and women are by nature at war with God. They have rejected His rightful authority over them and have set
up an illegitimate and independent
Now God cannot remain blind
to such rebellion. Does he then
crush the rebel? No! Though it
would not be unjust of him to
What then did God do?
He sent his Son Jesus to make peace through the blood of sacrifice shed upon the cross [Eph.2.12-14]. Jesus has paid the price of our rebellion and has made peace for all who will come to God through faith in his sacrifice.
Paul describes the result of the new relationship with God that has been made possible through faith in Christ’s work upon the cross as follows:
"Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" Rom. 5v1.
During the American Civil War, a troop of Federal cavalry met a soldier clothed in a ragged Confederate uniform. He called for help saying,
“I am starving to death. Can you give me some food?”
“Why don't you just go into Richmond and get what you
need?” he was asked. He explained he feared arrest and
execution for three weeks previously he had deserted the
confederate army. The captain replied,
“Haven't you heard the news?”
“What news” asked the soldier?
“Why, the war is over. Peace has been made”.
“What!" said the soldier, “I have been starving in
the woods for two weeks because I didn't know
that peace has been made.”
Do you know that Jesus has made peace with God, through his death on the cross? We don’t have to make peace with God! We couldn’t even if we tried. Jesus has provided a perfect atonement for sin so that all who will believe on him may come boldly to God knowing that the ground of hostility between them and God has been removed.
But that is only one half of the story, for,
having found peace with God; they
may now enter into the peace of
God in abundance. What is the
peace of God? It is the personal
peace, which Jesus had himself
enjoyed while here on earth.
This peace is based first, upon the intimate knowledge that God is in control of all things.
Secondly, this peace entirely independent of circumstances. Jesus was totally unruffled by the circumstances pressing around him. His enemies foamed with rage as they engineered his death. But he entered Jerusalem with poise, knowing that his life was totally in the hands of an all-
wise, loving and powerful heavenly Father.
It is this kind of peace Jesus had in mind when
he said, "My peace I give unto you" Jn.14v27. Have you received that peace? It is the legacy of Jesus to all who have placed their trust in him.
This promised peace was to be present in spite of Christ's physical absence. This is the connection of verses 28-29 with the verse that precedes them, for Jesus now speaks of the fact that he is being taken from the disciples.
“You heard me say, 'I am going away and I am coming back to you.' If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.”
There are two reasons why the disciples should be at peace even though Jesus would be physically absent.
First, because it would be better for Jesus. He would again be with the Father. This throws light on the meaning of, "For my Father is greater than I.” v28.
At the incarnation Jesus subjugated himself below the Father in terms of his outward glory and official position. He did not grasp onto equality with God. But now, he was returning to the Father to assume that great glory and position that was originally his. The disciples should rejoice in his exaltation.
Secondly, the disciples were to be at peace even though Jesus was to be taken from them because this arrangement was better for them. They thought it was best to have Jesus’ physical presence with them. But God in them was far better than God with them.
When Jesus’ Spirit took up residence in their hearts then they would "believe" v29. At the time Jesus spoke these words the disciples undoubtedly thought they did believe. But they did not understand the reason for Jesus’ death or that his death would be followed by his resurrection. The Holy Spirit would lead them into a clear understanding of these great truths and so strengthen their faith.
The last two verses of chap.14 also relate to peace for neither, a vacillating world, an absent Christ, nor an active devil, should upset the believer.
Jesus is speaking of Satan when he says,
“I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” v30-31.
Jesus is undoubtedly referring to the activity of the Devil in moving Judas to betray him to his enemies, which he was probably doing at that very moment. But this did not trouble Jesus, for he was at peace even when confronted by Satan's activity. Satan could do nothing to Christ because as he says, “he has no hold on me.” There was no sin in Christ to enable Satan to catch hold of Jesus and so Jesus would slip through Satan's grasp like a greased cricket ball!
Think of the way Jesus had earlier
slipped through the hands of the hostile
crowds. We too shall slip through Satan’s
fingers if we are believers.
Although we are not sinless we have nevertheless
entered into Christ’s victory over the enemy.
Jesus has left a great legacy of peace. But have we entered into that legacy?
In order to qualify for this legacy, we must be those to whom the gift has been bequeathed; we must be Christ's followers.
But even if we are, there may be things that keep
us from a full enjoyment of Christ’s benefits. Ignorance
will keep peace from us. If we do not know that
God sovereignly works all things according to
his perfect plan for us, then there can be no
peace. Sin can destroy our peace, for we
cannot have full fellowship with God when
we are wilfully sinning. Unbelief will also
destroy peace. All these things will
conspire to keep us from our legacy.
Isaiah writes, "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you" Isa. 26. 3.
What is the basic, necessary ingredient for peace? Trusting in God! The fixing of our mind upon him!
If we focus on Jesus, we will find ourselves walking even on the stormiest of seas and we will enter into that peace that is beyond all human understanding. This is the peace that the world can never give. Have you experienced it?