Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled…
That the Son of God might become the "merciful and faithful High Priest" of His Church, "it behoved Him to be made in all things like unto His brethren." Hence we see Him influenced by the same affections that influence ourselves, and manifesting the same dispositions. When His end drew near, He made, as it were, His will, and would not suffer the last interview with His disciples to close before He had reminded them of the precious gifts which He purposed to bestow.
I. THE BLESSING WHICH CHRIST BEQUEATHS. "Peace." If there is any word which can excite pleasing sensations in the human breast, it is this. It is as sweet to the children of men, as the long wished for shore to the mariner who is wearied with the labours of the ocean. It is as reviving as the warm breezes of the spring to the man who has just risen from a bed of sickness. How welcome are the tidings of returning peace to a nation which has been long accustomed to the sound of war! How beautiful the feet of them who publish it! But it is not amongst mankind only that peace is thus highly esteemed. It is declared by the great Jehovah Himself to be among the things which He calls good. To bring down this blessing was the great object of our Saviour's appearing. Hence the prophecies spoke of Him as "the Prince of Peace." Hence, when He was born, peace on earth was proclaimed by the rejoicing angels. Hence, too, when He was about to leave His beloved disciples, peace was the precious legacy he left, and it was His first blessing after He rose. What, then, is this peace? Is it an exemption from the calamities of life, from sorrow and affliction? No. "In the world ye shall have tribulation." Is it peace with the world, an exemption from its hatred and persecution? No. "The world hateth you." It is —
1. Peace with God. The man who inherits this precious legacy was once the enemy of the Lord. But now the enmity of his carnal mind has been subdued. He has gone, as a repentant prodigal, to the throne of his heavenly Father, and has received a welcome and a pardon there. "Being justified by faith, he has peace," etc.
2. Peace in the soul. This is a blessing which none but Christ can give, and none but His renewed people receive. Others may seek it, may perhaps find something which they mistake for it; but until a man's heart has been "sprinkled from an evil conscience," he must remain as far off from true peace of mind as he is from God.
3. Christ's peace. It is the same peace that He Himself enjoys; that kept His soul tranquil in the midst of all His sorrows, and into which He is now entered in His Father's kingdom above.
II. THE MANNER IN WHICH IT HAS BEEN GIVEN.
1. By bequest.
(1) The property which a man conveys by a will or testament must be his own estate and property; and he must also have a right of transferring it to others. Thus this peace was Christ's own, and which He had the power of disposing of by will. He was the only Being in the universe rich enough to purchase reconciliation.
(2) This peace could never have been inherited if the great Giver of it had not died. A man may leave to his friends abundant riches, but these gifts will profit them nothing till after he is dead.
(3) "Not as the world giveth." The blessings which Christ has left are widely different from those things which men leave to their friends. They are —
(a) More valuable. Men may leave behind them riches, mansions, titles; but they cannot make a man happy, even in the day of prosperity; while the legacy of Christ, even in the darkest night of adversity, can "satisfy the longing soul, and fill the hungry soul with goodness."(b) More permanent. They will remain precious as ever, when every earthly treasure shall be heard of no more. Conclusion:
1. The security and stability of the Divine promises. Peace is not only promised, but bequeathed. The Testator is now dead; the testament is in force.
2. A man may have a precious legacy bequeathed to him, and he may be so infatuated as to refuse to accept it, or so indolent as to neglect the proper means of possessing himself of it; but still the legacy is his. The very same causes, united with "an evil heart of unbelief," may keep you strangers to the peace of God.
3. But before we can have a title to this legacy, we must be united to Christ by a living faith. "There is no peace to the wicked."
(C. Bradley, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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, neither let it be afraid.