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…
"Peace." It was no new word. It was and is the common form of salutation and farewell; and the Master used it because it was old and familiar. This peace is threefold.
I. Peace with OURSELVES. Every one knows what it is to be at peace with ourselves, and not at peace.
1. We may be perfectly prosperous, and yet there is a secret pang, a bitter thought.
2. On the other hand, we may be in suffering, and yet be in perfect peace because doing our duty. Peace of conscience is the peace of the Holy Spirit of Christ.
II. Peace with ONE ANOTHER. In Christ Jew and Gentile, etc., are one. He gathered round Him the most opposite characters. His peace therefore does not mean that we are all to speak, think, act, in the same way. The world of nature derives its beauty and grace from its variety. And so in the world of man. We differ but no difference, but that of sin should become separation. The chief priests of ancient Rome were called Pontiffs — "bridge makers." It is the duty of every Christian to throw bridges over the moral rents or fissures which divide us. Sometimes you will find opinions shading off one into the other: these are branches that are entwined over the abyss. Seize hold of them! Sometimes there are points of character the very counterparts of our own: these are stepping stones. Sometimes there are concessions made: to all such give the widest scope. There are, no doubt, occasions when truth and justice must be preferred to peace, and differences which are widened by saying, "Peace, peace when there is no peace;" but we must be careful not to multiply them. You receive an angry letter; do not answer it. You observe a quarrelsome look; take no notice of it. You see the beginning of a quarrel; throw cold water on it. Churches need not be united in order to be at peace. The peace of the Holy Spirit of Christ is deeper than outward diversities.
III. Peace with GOD. Our hearts are torn with scruples and cares even in duty; our sins rise up against us. Where shall we find a haven of peace? In the thought of God. Think of God the Father, perfectly just and merciful. Think on Christ who stilled the tumult of the natural storm, and who came to reconcile us to the Father. Think of the Holy Spirit who broods over chaos, and of it can make eternal order and peace.
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.