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…
I. THIS LEGACY IN ITS RICH CONTEXTS. "Peace I leave," etc.
1. The great system of reconciliation. The gospel is pre-eminently the gospel of peace. It is peace on earth, and good will to men. This gospel Christ committed to his apostles as its special ambassadors, and to them was given "the ministry of reconciliation, to wit," etc.
2. This great system in its blessed effects on them. Our Lord sums up these effects in one word, "peace," and it is most significant and expressive. It involves:
(1) The peace of the soul with God. By sin it is at enmity with him, out of harmony altogether with his character and will, but by acceptance of the Divine system of reconciliation, peace with God is effected. This the disciples enjoyed. They could say, "Being justified by faith, we have," etc.
(2) The peace of the soul with itself. By sin it is at war with itself; there are painful discords, unrest and guilt throughout its empire. But peace with God brings peace within. Then there is order, good government, and harmony in the soul. They enjoyed inward peace.
(3) Their peace with each other, and a peaceful disposition towards all. There is nothing more remarkable in the history of the disciples than the almost perfect unity and peace which reigned among them, which was the wonderful result of the Divine system of reconciliation, and the personal tuition and influence of their Master. This he leaves with them.
3. This legacy of Christ has the peculiarity of being absolutely his own. "My peace."
(1) He is its Author. Think of it as a work, he made it; or as a scheme, he wrought it out; or as a purchase, he paid the price; or as a gracious interference between offensive man and offended Deity, he is the Mediator; or as a Divine principle, he imparts and inspires it. He is the Peace-maker and the Peace Offering. It is his so thoroughly, that with propriety the apostle says, He is our Peace, who hath made both one, etc.
(2) He is its absolute Proprietor and Dispenser. Being its absolute Author, he is also its absolute proprietor, and has an absolute right to withhold it from or give it to whomsoever he pleases.
(3) It is such as he himself enjoyed. "My peace" -the peace which is mine; the peace of his own soul, resulting from perfect obedience, self-sacrificing love, serene confidence in and fellowship with the God of peace; the peace which reigned in his own heart, which was exemplified in his own life, which was its strength and happiness. This he gave, and the gift was absolutely and practically his own.
4. This legacy is very precious.
(1) It is precious in itself. What is more precious than peace in families, in neighborhoods, in Churches, and empires? Take it away, society would soon become a Bedlam, and the world a hell. But higher in its nature, more extensive and lasting in its influence still, is spiritual peace - peace of heart, mind, and conscience. "The peace of God, which passeth," etc.
(2) It is precious as it is the most needful blessing. It is ever so, and it was so now with regard to the disciples. Jesus was about to leave them, and they were surrounded with dangerous elements, and were to live in a hostile world. With regard to their personal and official wants, peace was an essential blessing. Nothing is more precious than what we absolutely need, and cannot do without. The disciples could do without many things, but not without this. How could they be the heralds of peace without the message; and how could they give it to others without its being given to them first? This Jesus gave them.
(3) It is very precious as coming from him. A gift derives value from the giver; and peace coming from him is a guarantee of its genuineness and worth. We value the gift of a dear friend, especially his parting gift and his dying keepsake. This is the parting gift of Jesus to his disciples; as if he were to say, "I have no riches, no fortune, no estates, to give you; but I give you something far better - ' My peace.'" He gave them the most precious part of even himself - his peace.
(4) It is very precious because it could not be had of any one else. The rarity of a thing makes it precious; and so rare is this peace that it could not be obtained of any one but Jesus, "the Prince of Peace;" and could not be obtained of him but as the gift of his grace. His peace, like his commandment of love, is new and original.
(5) This legacy is given them as an absolute and personal possession. "Peace I leave with you, my peace," etc. They seem to be trustees under his first Clause, but actual possessors under the second. The ministry of reconciliation I leave with you, to publish and offer to others; but "my peace" I give unto you as your personal property - your support and inspiration in life, your solace in death, and your fortune forever.
II. IN THE DISTINGUISHING FEATURES OF ITS CHARACTER AND BESTOWMENT. "Not as the world giveth," etc. Here is a contrast. There is no comparison. They knew something of the world as a giver; and for fear they would look at him in the same light, he asserts a great contrast.
1. In the reality of the gifts and the giving. The world gives shadows; Christ gives substances. The world gives that which is not bread, and satisfieth not; Christ's gifts are good, perfect, and satisfying. The world gives in vain wishes and empty salutations - "Peace he with you;" but Christ gives substantial peace. The world pays in promissory notes, but they are all dishonored; Christ pays in hard cash. No sooner he says, "My peace I give unto you," than that peace is given and felt as a living principle in the soul, and all his promises are fulfilled.
2. In the heart of man which is supplied. The world gives to the body; Christ to the soul. The world gives to the outward and transient in man; Christ to the inward and eternal. The world only supplies music for the physical ear, and sceneries for the physical eye; Christ supplies music for the soul, and spiritual sceneries of unspeakable beauty to the eye of faith. The world supplies the lowest part of man - his passions and animal propensities; but Christ furnishes the highest part of him - his reason, faith, conscience - and satisfies his immortal aspirations and wants.
3. In the manner of the giving. The world gives its best first, and there is a sad deterioration; but Christ keeps the best wine to the last. The world gives laughter which ends in weeping, joy which ends in sorrow, pleasures which end in pain, bright hopes which end in dis. appointment, a heaven which ends in hell; but Christ gives good things even at first, and they improve with time. He gives pleasures which sweeten with experience, joys which intensify with years, delights which increase with ages, prospects which brighten with eternities, and hopes which are divinely realized. Weeping is converted into laughter, the pains of birth into the pleasures of a new life, the pangs of repentance into the ecstasies of pardon, the gloomy doubts of faith into the brilliant visions of heaven, the streams of peace into an ocean of joy and happiness, and the struggles of the warfare into the hosannas of a final victory. "Not as the world," etc.
4. In permanency. The world only lends; Christ gives. What the world gives, it soon takes away; but Christ leaves his peace with his people, and gives them "that good part," etc. The world at best only gives a life-interest, and that life very brief and uncertain; but Christ's gifts are eternal possessions and real property. The lease of his gifts is not for the life of the body, but for the life of the soul. The world's fountains soon get dry, but those of Christ are perennial. "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh," etc.
III. IN ITS PRACTICAL EFFECTS UPON HIS FOLLOWERS. "Let not your heart be," etc.
1. They were exposed to special dangers.
(1) From within, arising from their innate depravity, the imperfections of their spiritual nature, the youth and weakness of their faith. They were as yet but babes in Christ; they were exposed to inward trouble and doubts.
(2) From without. They were in a hostile world, and sent forth as sheep among wolves. The departure of their Savior and the terrible tragedy of his crucifixion were in the immediate future, and all this was but an introduction to more personal attacks and hostilities.
2. To strengthen their heart against trouble and fear was now Christ's chief aim. "Let not your heart," etc. There may be trouble without much fear; still they are near relations, and ever attack the heart. The heart, as the seat of emotion, is the most vulnerable avenue to these foes. They were rushing in torrents upon the disciples already. The mere talk of his departure had filled their heart with sorrow. It was his chief aim to strengthen their heart.
3. This aim he accomplished by the bestowment of his own peace. "Peace I leave with you," etc. He prescribes and furnishes the remedy - "peace." The Divine element which had been so infallible against fear and trouble in himself. "My peace I give unto you." This Divine peace is the only dement which can successfully combat trouble and fear. It sets the whole soul to music; and the music of the soul, like the music of heaven, makes sorrow and sighing to flee away. Filled with Christ's peace, like him, they would be calm in the storm, joyful in tribulation, patient in suffering, and jubilant in death.
1. All the movements of Jesus were in order to bless. He came to the world to bless. He was in it for a while to bless, and left it in order to bless his people all the more. The legacy of peace could not be fully enjoyed while the testator was alive.
2. When Jesus left his disciples, he left the best part of himself with them. "My peace I give," etc. He left infinitely more than he took away. He took himself personally away, but left his peace - the cream of his life, and the life of his death.
3. To enjoy his peace is to enjoy him in the highest sense, and to enjoy all we require in this world. It will raise us above our troubles and fears, into the calm sphere of Divine love, fellowship, and protection. - T.
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.
WEB: Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don't let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.