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…
This promise of the Savior sank into his people's hearts. From the first, inward peace, peace of conscience and of spirit, was valued as among the choicest possessions of the members of Christ's Church. They gave their children names such as Irenaeus and Irene, which signify simply "peace." In the course of their communion services it was their custom to greet one another with the salutation, "Peace be with you!" In the catacombs of Rome may still be read on many a Christian's tomb the brief but touching inscription, In Face ("In peace"). So did they value the gift and legacy of their beloved Lord.
I. THERE IS IN HUMAN LIFE MUCH THAT IS FITTED TO DISTURB AND TO DESTROY PEACE.
1. Looking back to the past, many are troubled at the retrospect of their own errors, follies, and sins.
2. Looking round upon the present, many cannot fail to discern in their actual circumstances occasions of distress and alarm.
3. Looking forward to the future, anxious minds are perturbed by forebodings and fears.
II. THE WORLD IS POWERLESS TO IMPART OR TO RESTORE PEACE TO THE TROUBLED HEART. The consolations of the world are delusive, its promises deceptive.
1. There may well be here a reference to the ordinary greetings of the East. "Peace!" is the common salutation, and has been from time immemorial. Like all such greetings, it often was and is altogether thoughtless and insincere. Our Lord's "peace" is something quite different.
2. But there is a deeper reference, viz. to the pretence of peace as given by the world, to which no reality corresponds. The world says, "Peace, peace; when there is no peace." Superficial, deceptive, utterly false, is that insensibility to terrible realities which frivolity and skepticism offer to the troubled soul, Far better storms of fear and care than such a calm as this!
For terrible is the awakening, when the judgment of the
All-righteous draws near.
III. CHRIST'S PEACE, AND HIS ALONE, IS VALID AND LASTING.
1. This is spiritual peace. It is not to be supposed that the Christian is exempt from the cares and the calamities of life, that outward circumstances and human society are all to combine in order to his preservation from the troubles which are incidental to human life. But there may be calm within even while the storm rages without. The heart may be so free from fear.
2. This peace proceeds from the restoration of right relations between the soul and God. It is peace of conscience, the substitution of harmony with the government and the will of God for that state of discord which is the experience of the nature that is alienated from the eternal Ruler of all. To be right with God is the first condition of human peace. Such concord it is the work of the Redeemer to bring about.
3. This peace is both a bequest and a gift of Christ. It is a legacy, because it was dependent upon the Lord's departure, and the subsequent establishment of a spiritual dispensation. It is a gift, because apart from the Savior's provision there was no means by which this blessing might be secured and enjoyed. The peace in question is not to be earned by any effort or sacrifice of ours; it is the bestowment of the infinite love and grace of the Divine Mediator.
4. This gift is essentially his who bestows it. The peace which he enjoys he also imparts. That peace which flows from obedience and submission to the Divine will was naturally the proper possession of the Son of God; and it is that same peace which Jesus conveys to the heart that trusts and rests in him.
5. The peace of Christ is all-sufficient. In plenitude and in perpetuity it is alone.
"The world can neither give nor take,
Nor can they comprehend,
The peace of God which Christ has brought -
The peace which knows no end." ? 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.