John 14:27
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.







Peace I leave with you.
The Earl of Dundonald fought with his solitary ship a line of formidable forts in South America, whose fire proved so raking that his men could not be got to stand to their guns. Calling his wife, he asked her to fire one of the guns, and show these men how to do their duty. She did so. Instantly they returned, burning with shame, to their posts, and soon the victory was theirs. The lady, in rehearsing the circumstance, said that the thing that was felt by her to be the most terrible, was not the din of battle, not the raking fire, but the awful calmness that sat fixed on her husband's countenance, as it seemed to carry in itself the sure presage of victory. This we can all understand. Every moral nature feels that settled calmness in the face of dangers and deaths is the loftiest example of the sublime. Of this we have one peerless example in the man Christ Jesus, who, on the eve of His agony, utters these words. We have here a word of —

I. FAREWELL. The Old Testament phrase, "Peace be with you!" had now come to be a word of salutation, as it still is in the Oriental "salaam," the modern form of the Hebrew "shalom," or peace. Originally, it was a benedictory prayer. But by this time, in most cases, like our words "adieu," "good-bye," which mean "God be with you!" the deeper and devouter meaning had very much exhaled, leaving only a breath of courtesy or compliment behind. But this is good, so far as it goes: for our religion says, "be courteous," and no gentleman can compare with the Christian gentleman. Christ here commends these forms of courtesy by His august example. But he does a great deal more. Instead of pharisaically leaving these forms, because they are not always what they ought to be. He tells us to take them up and make them what they ought to be. But, as the context shows, He here means a farewell; and this farewell of peace He repeats at the end of the sixteenth chapter, where He brings these valedictory discoursings to a close.

II. BEQUEST. "Leave." Even in the case of a human relative, it is much to inherit his peace. We prize more than gold a father's, a mother's dying benediction. But what are such legacies compared with that which Jesus here bequeaths to the humblest of His disciples. If we have Christ's peace, no matter for anyone's curse, no matter what wrath may surround our head. Peace is here used twice, and occurs first in its general sense. Peace within, in the calm serenity of a pardoned and reconciled soul; peace without, in every needed temporal blessing; peace in storms and afflictions, in the precious gift of a "heart established, trusting in the Lord"; peace in persecution; yea, "perfect peace," blessing them that curse us, doing good to them that hate us; peace in death; for "mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace"; peace in the grave, for there the body is stretched out in repose, "where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest"; and the consummation of all peace in heaven. And as Christ is the Testator, so He is Himself the Executor. "My peace." Yes; what the Saviour leaves He gives: what He died to procure, He rose and reigns to bestow.

III. GOSPEL. This peace is a peace particularly Christ's own; that which He Himself possesses and feels, as having finished His work and wrought out our salvation. Would you see something of it? Go to Calvary. The pallid lips give forth the victory shout, "It is finished;" and the words, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit"; and then the triumphant soul of the Redeemer rises in peace and rapture to the bosom of His Father and His God. It is the climax of peace. Now the peace which was then our Saviour's own He imparts to the humblest of His disciples. We believe in Him and become pardoned, accepted, and sanctified in the Beloved.

IV. GOOD CHEER. "Not as the world giveth," etc. "There is no peace saith my God to the wicked." But let the wicked only forsake his way, and this peace straightway breathes down upon him like a scented vivifying gale from the delectable land. "Not as the world giveth, give I unto you." How suggestive the contrast!

1. It is vain to seek peace —

(1)In the world's objects of attraction, such as pride, pleasure, and ambition, which bring with them no end of thorny care.

(2)In the world's friendships, which at best are but fleeting, and which too often promise only to falsify and forget.

(3)In the world's wisdoms, which are folly.

(4)In the world's religions, which are worse.

2. But our Saviour's words seem to refer mainly to the manner of the giving.

(1)The world gives conventionally, Christ gives sincerely.

(2)The world gives superficially, Christ gives substantially.

(3)The world gives partially, Christ gives perfectly.

(4)The world gives capriciously, Christ gives constantly.

(5)The world gives temporarily, Christ gives eternally.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

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.)

Our Lord, being about to die, makes all the accustomed preparations, and discharges all the functions of a dying man. He charges His friends with His last commands, delivers to them His last advices, prays for them a last and touching prayer, institutes for them an expressive and affecting ordinance — the great Christian keepsake to be observed "in remembrance of Him" — and compensates them as much as possible for their deprivement of Himself, by bequeathing them all that He had to dispose of — this precious and peculiar blessing of peace.

I. THE THING ITSELF. The legacy is "peace."

1. It fulfils the first great condition of peace, by harmonizing the inward feelings with the outward experience; in other words, it establishes peaceful relations between the soul and its proper objects.(1) Between the soul and its God. These had been violated. The primitive intercourse between man and his Maker was loving and intimate. When he sinned, such intercourse became impossible. "How can two walk together unless they be agreed?" The holy anger of the offended God is met by the hostile feeling of the offending man. In this condition of enmity Christ becomes "our peace." By His Cross He appeases the anger of God. By His Spirit He subdues the enmity in man. He makes pardon possible on God's part by bearing our sins; He makes it to be desired on ours by renewing our hearts.(2) Between the soul and its moral duty. Corruption opposes our duty to God, selfishness our duty to man, and their antagonism is destructive of peace. But under the influence of the gospel both are destroyed.(a) Duties to God are discharged with delight. The service is love, the principle is gratitude.(b) Nor are duties to man less cordial. We are taught to "love as brethren," and are conformed to a noble example. This peace comes into individual hearts, and, eradicating selfishness and bitterness, produces charity; it comes into our homes, and it adds the brotherhood of grace to the brotherhood of nature. It comes among nations, and it teaches that righteousness is exaltation, affection, and felicity.(3) Between the soul and its providential experiences. When did irreligion acquiesce in providential trials? But the gospel gives us revelations of the purpose of God's providence, new recognitions of its real character, and thus harmonizes our feelings with even its deepest adversities.(4) Between the soul and its destiny; peace in anticipation of the future life. The believer has no longer a "fearful looking for of judgment"; he "knows in whom he has believed"; he is "begotten again to a lively hope." This is more than reconciliation — it is assurance; more than peace with God — it is peace in God; more than peace with his lot — it is rejoicing over it.

2. It is competent to produce harmony among the inward feelings themselves — a condition palpably as essential as the former — essential in order to the former. For, while there is internal discord, there cannot be external harmony. Sin destroyed the peace of the inward heart, as effectually as it destroyed the peace of its outward relations. There can be no peace among passions of equal intensity and independence, unless subject to some common and absolute rule. To meet this need, we "receive the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ." Every affection is taught to recognize Him. Every gratification is found in His will. Every passion is thus made to harmonize. Every desire is solicited to a common tendency. Every energy is directed to a common result.

II. THIS BEQUEATHMENT THE SAVIOUR IDENTIFIED WITH HIMSELF.

1. "My peace." He had secured it to them. It was purchased by His atonement, and wrought by His Spirit.

2. It is peace like His own; the peculiar and surpassing peace which, as a man, He had enjoyed.(1) Peace with God.(2) The peace of perfect and conscious obedience.(3) The peace of perfect affiance. No endurance made Him murmur; no extremity provoked His impatience; no deprivation shook His confidence.(4) The peace of blissful anticipation. He knew that when His work was done He should be "raised to glory and honour." In all these elements the peace of the Redeemer and the peace of His followers are identical.

III. THE PECULIARITY OF THE BESTOWMENT. "Not as the world giveth."

1. The method of the world in giving peace is by a careful adjustment of external things, sweetening such as are bitter, smoothing such as are rugged. It mistakes a peaceful lot for peaceful feelings; totally neglectful of feelings within, it attends solely to circumstances without; it seeks to remove anxiety, not by trusting in Providence, but by heaping up wealth to make us independent of Providence. It seeks to satisfy inordinate craving, not by moderating desire, but by scraping up gratifications until desire be satiated. It builds up around a man its vain fortifications; but let its defences be carried, and the untutored and effeminate soul is a helpless and hopeless prey. Broadly contrasted with this is the peace of Jesus Christ. It is not dependent on things without; it arises from sources within. It requires not that there should be ease and indulgence; it may exist amid the utmost privation and self-sacrifice. It is not the peace of compromise, but of conquest. "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but in Me ye shall have peace."

2. Identifying peace with indifference, the world would school the heart into an insensibility. Thus the men of the world seek peace; they would freeze the sea of affection, that no storm may agitate its waves; they would petrify the heart, that no grasp of anguish may mark it. And in like manner would they deal with spiritual things; they would quiet all religious solicitudes by utterly banishing them; peace with God they would have by for. getting Him; peace with their consciences by stifling them; peace with the claims of duty by refusing to listen to them; peace with their future destiny by never thinking about it. "They make a solitude, and call it peace."

(H. Allen, D. D.)

I. THE NATURE OF THE BLESSING BEQUEATHED.

1. The enjoyment of actual reconciliation with God.

2. A sweet composure and calmness of mind, arising from the sense of reconciliation impressed by the Spirit of God on our hearts.

II. THE PECULIAR CONNECTION WHICH HE STATES THIS BLESSING TO HAVE WITH HIMSELF. "My peace."

1. Reconciliation to God exclusively arises from the merit of His sacrificial sufferings as being our Redeemer. "It is in consequence of the work of the Saviour that the Spirit has been sent actually to apply the blessing of reconciliation to the heart and to the conscience of man."

III. THE POINTS OF CONTRAST EXISTING BETWEEN THIS BLESSING AND THE COMMUNICATIONS OF THE WORLD. "Not as the world giveth."

1. That which is given to us by the world is empty; that which is given to us by Christ is substantial.

2. What the world gives is pernicious, and that which Christ gives is beneficial.

3. That which is given to us by the world is changeable, and must perish; and that which is given to us by Christ is immutable, and must endure for ever.

IV. THE INFLUENCE WHICH THE POSSESSION OF THIS BLESSING OUGHT TO POSSESS ON OUR MINDS. "Let not your heart be troubled."

(J. Parsons.)

When Christ left the world, He made His will. His soul He bequeathed to His Father, and His body to Joseph. His clothes fell to the soldiers, His mother He left to the care of John. But what should He leave to His poor disciples, who had left all for Him? Silver and gold He had none; but He left them what was far better — His peace.

(M. Henry.)

I. THE FIRST REQUISITE, IN ORDER TO THIS PEACE, IS HAVING, SEALED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, A CERTIFICATE OF JUSTIFICATION. One has said, "If you wish for peace with God, do your duty. Try to be as good as you can." But I have not been as good as I could. God has not had the first place in my love, and the first obedience in my life. Through Christ's intervention, however, the writ once against me is now null, for the sentence for treason is crossed through under sanction of the law itself, and I have in my very soul the certificate of justification, sealed by the Comforter.

II. CHRIST'S PEACE COMES FROM CHRIST'S LIFE. You mistake if you fancy that this peace is a dull composure. It means more life, not less! The Spirit of Christ, in giving this peace, numbs no nerve, stifles no primitive impulse, mesmerises no faculty. On the contrary, His tendency is to make us spring up, broad awake, feeling alive all over. He makes, through this change in us, a change in everything around us. He makes old Christian truths, that once had become almost insipid by familiarity, break out into meanings and charms, bright as morning and fresh as the spring. To be spiritually-minded is "life," the cause; "peace," the effect.

III. PEACE IS INCOMPATIBLE WITH SIN. A person may be in the root of his life a Christian, and yet his Christianity may be little more than a root. He may have "a name to live," and may pass as an average professor of faith in Christ, yet might know but little of this Divine peace. There is no peace for the shot limb while the bullet is in it. A person has been drinking some deadly thing, tempted by its inspiriting flavour, but now it maddens him, and there is no peace for the poisoned system while the poison is in it. There is no peace to the fever-stricken sufferer until the fever is out of him. You remember the storm that Jonah caused, and how it had to be quieted. If you would have peace, first find out, and then cast out your Jonah — the Jonah of that sheltered sin, of that crooked policy, of that secret, whatever it may be, that stops a blessing from coming on you who carry it.

IV. THE PEACE OF CHRIST HAS ITS SEAT, NOT IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT IN THE HEART. "Let not your heart be troubled." It is a truism to say that disquiet belongs to this world, for everyone knows this, though he may know little else; and it belongs in a particular degree to this particular age. Disquiet connected with the disputes between labour and capital; from questions connected with the money market; made by the "battle of books," by the conflicts of theological thought; seen from the post of political outlook. But having Christ as our own life, we can say, though our surroundings may be like the disquiet of an earthquake, "Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed," etc. We have peace in our heart, for the Giver of peace is there. Without, there may be excitement; indeed, our own physical life may be excitable, for grace does not turn one body into another; yet there is a Divine calm down under the surface, such as no man can know who knows not the true life.

V. CHRIST'S PEACE IS HERE ASSURED TO US IN TERMS OF PECULIAR SIGNIFICANCE. "Peace I leave." This is the language of legacy, and implies —

1. That He would live after He had died. A legacy implies death (Hebrews 9:16).

2. The principle of grace. He gives. "Grace" is not the name of wages for work, nor of reward for merit; nor of gain by conquest; nor of what we receive on the principle of "so much for so much."

3. The deity of the Giver. Reconsider what is meant by the peace of Christ, and then ask yourself if a man could give it.

4. "Not as the world giveth." The world can only give what it has to give. The world gives fitfully, and there is no dependence on the world; the world gives in order to get; the world gives to take away again; grudgingly and delusively.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

I. THE NATURE OF THE PEACE THAT JESUS GIVES.

I. It is peace in the mind. There is a state of the mind answering to the surging sea, or the agitations of the atmosphere; when a man has not clear perception of important truth; when the mind is swayed by apprehension, and driven by scepticism from every resting place for its convictions. The opposite of that is certitude, the repose of enlightened conviction upon ascertained principle. Jesus Christ gives that to His people.

2. Peace of conscience. If a man have not that, all the flattery of nations will not make him happy. The Psalmist says, "Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which Thou hast broken for dislocated] may rejoice." Man's moral nature is the skeleton of his soul. David felt that his conscience was dislocated, and he could not know happiness until God had reset and restored it. Well, Christ gives peace of conscience; He restores it to its functions, and causes the man that has this peace to rejoice.

3. Peace of heart. Man may know, see, say, and sing a great deal, but if his heart is not keyed to spiritual harmony, if there are jarring affections, forbidden passions, corrupt emotions in the soul, he cannot be happy.

4. Peace in all the relationships in which a man stands. There is no solid peace if there is not peace with God, but where there is there will be peace with man, and he who enjoys it will be a peacemaker; he will delight in diffusing that happiness which he enjoys.

5. It is Christ's peace —(1) As distinguished from —(a) The peace of indifference. There are some persons who, on the subject of religion, have really no trouble at all. This is a peace like that of the poor Indian sleeping in his canoe while rolling him onwards to the cataract.(b) The peace of self-deception: the peace of the patient that takes the hectic flush of his cheek as a sign of health, of the sailor who swaggers along the deck while the leak is in the keel. That is not the peace of Christ.(2) Positively it is the peace that arises from a knowledge of man's state and the remedy that he needs. I have seen a patient quite relieved by being told the very worst of his case. At the same time he was assured by a physician that there was a specific remedy for that disease which had cured thousands.

II. HOW HE GIVES THIS PEACE: "Not as the world giveth."

1. The world could not give such a thing at all; the world can only give what it gets, and it neither has nor knows that peace. The world may give a man wealth; the heart may be writhing in agony under the blaze of diamonds. The world may give a man fame, but a celebrated actor died of sorrow whilst the city was ringing his praise. The world may give a man pleasure, but that can only ripple the surface.

2. The world gives what it has —(1) With a hope of getting again.(2) As little as it can.

3. Is soon tired of giving on any principle, even of giving to its friends.

(J. Graham, D. D.)

A lady who passed through the terrors of the Vicksburg siege wrote the night after the surrender: "It is evening. All is still. Silence and night are once more united. H— is leaning back in his rocking chair. He says, 'G— , it seems to me I can hear the silence and feel it too. It wraps me like a soft garment; how else can I express this peace?'"

(H. O. Mackey.)

I. THE WORLD'S PEACE.

1. It is not sound and sincere, but hollow (Psalm 55:21). It professes friendship, and yet it is ready to sell its friend for a mess of pottage.

2. Selfish.

3. Mercenary. When it gives, always expects an equivalent.

4. Fragile. How soon is the trading man's peace, our domestic peace, our civil peace, our peace of mind, broken! How long can you calculate upon keeping your peace?

5. Unserviceable. The world's peace never stands by our side in the hour of sorrow, tribulation, or temptation. It will do for the summer, but not for the winter.

6. Temporary.

II. THE PEACE OF CHRIST.

1. Its nature. It is peace —

(1)with God;

(2)with ourselves;

(3)with our fellow men.

2. Its characteristics.

(1)It is sincere;

(2)disinterested;

(3)gratuitous;

(4)indissoluble;

(5)serviceable.

(J. Ralph, M. A.)

Once, as a poet was thinking of Napoleon's defeat when he tried to win Moscow, he had a dreadful dream of peace. Under the spell of his dream, he found himself in a dim, still, snowy wilderness; many horsemen, covered with cloaks, their cloaks covered with snow, were sitting motionless; dead fires were seen, with grenadiers, white with snow, stretched motionless around; waggons, crowded with snow-shrouded, motionless figures, seemed to stop the way, the wheels fixed by a riverside, in ruts of water which the frost had struck into steel; cannon were there, heaped over with snow; snow lay on banners unlifted, on trumpets unblown. Was the seer of such a sight moved to cry "Peace, peace!" Better face the intense white flame that bursts from guns, better face the terrible iron rain, better face the worst of war, than face a scene of peace like that! Yet much that passes for peace in the region of the soul, and in relation to God, is not much better.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

It may, perhaps, have befallen some of us to stand by the side of one of those brawling mountain streams which descend from our southern and western coasts into the sea. It rushes with its noisy waters down its stony channel; every pebble rattles in the torrent; every ripple makes a murmur of its own. Suddenly the sound ceases: a deep stillness fills the banks from side to side. Why? It is the broad sweep of the advancing tide of the ocean that has checked the stream and occupied the whole space of its narrow channel with its own strong, silent, overwhelming waters. Even so it is with all the little cares, difficulties, and distractions which make up the noise and clatter of the stream of our daily life. They go on increasing and increasing, and engross our whole attention, till they are suddenly met and absorbed by some thoughts or objects greater than themselves advancing from a wider and deeper sphere. So it is in human things: so it is when in private life we are overtaken by some great personal joy or sorrow. The very image which I have just used of the brook and the sea has been beautifully employed by our greatest living poet to express the silencing of all lesser thoughts and aims by the death of a dear friend. So it is often felt in public concerns, when all petty cares and quarrels have been drowned in the tide of public joy or sorrow which has rolled in upon us from the great world without. All the streams of common life under such circumstances, descending from their several heights, deep or shallow, turbid or clear, have been checked at one and the same moment, have been hushed at one and the same point, by the waters broad and vast sweeping in from the ocean, which encompassed us all alike. Every lesser controversy has then stood still; every personal murmur at such moments has been silenced by the grander and deeper interest which belonged alike to us all. What that figure of the brook and of the tide is in the natural world, what great joys and sorrows are in personal life, what great public events are in the life of a nation, that to every human being ought to be the thought of eternity, the peace of God. From a thousand heights the streams of life are ever rushing down. All manner of obstacles meet their course — the rough rock, the broken bough, the smooth pebble, the crooked bank. Each and all are enough to ruffle those shallow waters, and to obstruct those narrow torrents. But there is, or there may be, forever advancing into each of these channels a tide from that wide and trackless ocean to which they are all tending; and deep indeed is the peace which those tides bring with them into the inland hills wherever their force extends.

(Dean Stanley.)

Though all Christ's conduct is godlike, nevertheless the last scenes of His life shine with peculiar splendour. In proportion as He draws nearer to its close, His charity appears to burn with a warmer flame, His divinity to shed forth brighter beams through the clouds which enshrouded it.

I. JESUS CHRIST GIVES PEACE TO HIS FOLLOWERS; or in other words, He has opened for them sources of tranquillity and joy amidst all the calamities and afflictions of life. This will be established if we can prove these two points —

1. He has given us the most adequate supports under all the woes to which we are exposed; and,

2. He has bestowed on us positive grounds of tranquillity. That is to say, with the one hand He gives us an antidote against every sorrow, and with the other reaches forth to us the richest benedictions.(1) Look at your life and heart, and you will find two great enemies of peace and tranquillity, sins and afflictions; and in vain will the heart sigh for rest, till in some mode the sting of sin is taken away and the bitterness of affliction removed. While the conscience is burdened by the guilt of sin, and the mind harassed by the apprehension of that punishment to which it exposes us, we in vain hope for peace. No, no! there is no other grief that can be compared with the anguish of the soul, that is enlightened to behold the spotless purity and inflexible justice of God, and the depth of the abyss dug by its own crimes and iniquities. Where, then, shall we seek for relief to these torments which arise from a sense of guilt? In the sacrifice of Immanuel we behold all cause of terror removed, and the most satisfying joys presented to our hopes and expectations. Could you find it in the amusements and gaieties of the world? Alas! in the midst of jocoseness and pleasantry your heart was bleeding. Human philosophy, worldly wisdom! alas, can these wash out the stain of the smallest sin from the conscience? Could you find it in the endearments of friendship and affection? Christ has been no less careful in affording proper supports under those trials, those crosses, and afflictions, of which human life is full, and which we mentioned as the second great enemy to peace. All the schools of antiquity, discordant and clashing in everything else, were united only in presenting unsubstantial comforts, which were too airy to support those under the pressure of real grief, or else in irritating instead of healing the wounds of the soul. But when we turn from these ineffectual consolations of the brightest ornaments of Greece and Rome, to the Divine Instructor who "spake as never man spake," what different sentiments are excited! He proposes such grounds of peace and tranquillity as will hush every painful passion, will compose every rising grief, will drive back every starting tear, or convert it into a tear of joy, and render us not patient merely, but triumphant in affliction. He gives us such instructions concerning the author, the intent, and the issue of afflictions, as, if they be properly realized, will cause the sorrows of life to vanish "like the morning cloud," and the pains of mortality to dissolve "like the early dew."(2) That He has conferred on them positive grounds of tranquillity so powerful, so cheering, as to be sufficient to keep their souls in sacred peace amidst all the storms of sorrow with which they may be assailed. Jesus Christ secures peace and tranquillity for His followers, by giving them an intimate communion with God. But this is only the first of His benedictions. He confers also the Holy Spirit, that bond and ligament connecting God and the soul of the believer. As the enlightening Spirit He presents to our minds those great truths of religion which affect, which interest and delight us. But this Spirit which enlightens is also the renewing Spirit; and how much tranquillity and satisfaction does the exercise of this part of His office give to the soul. To find harmony restored to our irregular affections, to see the passions formerly untamed submitting to the yoke of religion; to behold our native depravity losing its reigning power, and the image of God re-impressed upon us: is not this a desirable, a delightful contemplation? And finally, it is part of the office of this same Spirit, by His consoling influences, to dissipate the cloud of sorrow and cause the sunshine of heaven to break in upon the soul. Finally, Jesus is ready to confer on believers, and will confer on them, if they be not wanting to themselves, the earnests of future glory, the pledges of eternal felicity.

II. THAT HE GIVES IT NOT AS THE WORLD DOES.

1. When the world exclaims to us, Peace be unto you l this exclamation is often void of sincerity. How often are proffers of service, and desires for our happiness, uttered by the mouth that has just been employed in stabbing our reputation, and that in a few minutes will load us with slanders, and hold us up to ridicule!

2. When the world exclaims to us, Peace be unto you, it is not always insincere and deceitful; but even when it most strongly desires our felicity, it is weak, and without power to afford us a complete felicity. Man is feeble, indigent, unhappy. Thus, unable to find full happiness from the world, shall we, my brethren, entirely despair of attaining it? No; for Jesus gives peace not as the world does; His wishes can all be accomplished, for His power is irresistible.

3. The peace which the world gives is limited in its duration. Inconstant and variable, men frequently change their sentiments and opinions.

(H. Kollock, D. D.)

This blessed legacy our Lord has left might be considered as being peace —

1. With all the creatures. God has made a league of peace between His people and the whole universe. "For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field," etc. "All things work together for good to them that love God."

2. Among the people of God toward one another.

3. With God, for He "hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ"

4. In the conscience. Peace with God is the treaty; peace in the conscience is the publication of it.

I. ITS GROUNDWORK. It is not built upon imagination, but on facts.

1. Faith in the blood of Christ.

2. A sense of pardon.

3. An intimacy with Christ.

4. The possession of the title deeds of heaven.

5. An assurance of the faithfulness and covenant fidelity of God our Father.

II. ITS NOBLE CHARACTER. The peace of other men is ignoble and base. Their peace is born in the purlieus of sin. Self-conceit and ignorance are its parents. Our peace is —

1. God's own child and God-like in its character.

2. Divine in its nourishment. The daintiest morsels that ever carnal sense fed upon would be bitter to the mouth of this sweet peace. Ye may bring your much fine corn, your sweet wine, and your flowing oil; your dainties tempt us not, for this peace feeds upon angels' food, and it cannot relish any food that grows on earth. If you should give a Christian ten times as much riches as he has, you would not cause him ten times as much peace, but probably ten times more distress; you might magnify him in honour, or strengthen him with health, yet neither would his honour or his health contribute to his peace, for that peace flows from a Divine source, and there are no tributary streams from the hills of earth to feed that Divine current.

3. A peace that lives above circumstances.

4. Profound and real.

III. ITS EFFECTS.

1. Joy. The words "joy" and "peace" are continually put together.

2. Love. He that is at peace with God through the blood of Christ is constrained to love Him that died for him.

3. Holiness. He that is at peace with God does not wish to go into sin; for he is careful lest he should lose that peace.

4. It will help us to bear affliction. "Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace."

5. It gives us boldness at the throne.

IV. INTERRUPTIONS OF PEACE. All Christians have a right to perfect peace, but they have not all the possession of it. These interruptions may be owing to —

1. The ferocious temptations of Satan.

2. Ignorance.

3. Sin. God hides His face behind the clouds of dust which His own flock make as they travel along the road of this world. We sin, and then we sorrow for it.

4. Unbelief.Conclusion: If ye would keep your peace continual and unbroken —

1. Look always to the sacrifice of Christ.

2. Walk humbly with your God.

3. Walk in holiness; avoid every appearance of evil.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

"Peace be unto you" was, and is, the common Eastern salutation, both in meeting and parting. It carries us back to a state of society in which every stranger might be an enemy. It is a confession of the deep unrest of the human heart. Note —

I. THE GREETING, WHICH IS A GIFT. Christ gives His peace because He gives Himself. It comes with Him, like an atmosphere; it is never where He is not.

1. The first requisite for peace is consciousness of harmonious relations between me and God. The deepest secret of Christ's peace was His consciousness of unbroken communion with the Father. And the centre and foundation of all the peace-giving power of Jesus Christ is that in His death He has swept away the occasion of antagonism, and so made peace between the Father and the child, rebellious and prodigal.

2. We must be at peace with ourselves. There is no way of healing the inner schism of our anarchic nature except in bringing it all in submission to His merciful rule. Look at that troubled kingdom that each of us carries about within himself, passion dragging this way, conscience that; a hundred desires all arrayed against one another, inclination here, duty there, till we are torn in pieces like a man drawn asunder by wild horses. But when He enters the heart with His silken leash, the old fable comes true, and He binds the lions and the ravenous beasts there with its slender tie and leads them along, tamed, by the cord of love, and all harnessed to pull together in the chariot that He guides. There is one power, and only one, that can draw after it all the multitudinous heaped waters of the weltering ocean, and that is the quiet silver moon in the heavens, which pulls the tidal wave, into which melt and merge all currents and small breakers, and rolls it round the whole earth. And so Christ, shining down lambent and gentle, but changeless, from the darkest of our skies, will draw, in one great surge of harmonized motion, all the else contradictory currents of our stormy souls.

3. Peace with men. The reason why men are in antagonism with one another is the central selfishness of each. And there is only one way by which men's relations can be thoroughly sweetened, and that is by the Divine love of Jesus Christ casting out the devil of selfishness, and so blending them all into one harmonious whole.

4. Peace with the outer world. It is not external calamities, but the resistance of the will to these, that makes the disturbances of life. Submission is peace, and when a man with Christ in his heart can say what Christ did, "Not My will, but Thine, be done," then some faint beginnings, at least, of tranquillity come to the most agitated and buffeted.

II. THE WORLD'S GIFT, WHICH IS AN ILLUSION. "The world" may mean either mankind in general or the whole material frame of things.

1. Regarding it in the former sense, the thought is suggested — Christ gives; men can only wish. How little we can do for one another's tranquillity! how soon we come to the limits of human love and human help!

2. And then, if we take the other signification, we may say, "Outward things can give a man no real peace." The world is for excitement; Christ alone has the secret of tranquillity.

III. THE DUTY OF THE RECIPIENTS OF THAT PEACE OF CHRIST'S, "Let not your heart be troubled," etc.

1. Christ's gift of peace does not dispense with the necessity for our own effort after tranquillity. There is very much in the outer world and within ourselves that will surge up and seek to shake our repose; and we have to coerce and keep down the temptations to anxiety, to undue agitation of desire, to tumults of sorrow, to cowardly fears of the unknown future. All these will continue, even though we have Christ's peace in our hearts. And it is for us to see to it that we treasure the peace.

2. It is useless to tell a man, "Do not be troubled and do not be afraid," unless he first has Christ's peace as his. Is that peace yours because Jesus Christ is yours? If so, then there is no reason for your being troubled or dreading any future. If it is not, you are mad not to be troubled, and you are insane if you are not afraid.

3. Your imperfect possession of this peace is all your own fault. Conclusion: I went once to the side of a little Highland loch, on a calm autumn day, when all the winds were still, and every birch tree stood unmoved, and every twig reflected on the stedfast mirror, into the depths of which Heaven's own blue seemed to have found its way. That is what our hearts may be, if we let Christ put His guarding hand round them to keep the storms off, and have Him within us for our rest. But the man that does not trust Jesus is like the troubled sea which cannot rest.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

In India, where there are many venomous serpents, there is an animal — a kind of weasel — which is, as it were, appointed by God to destroy them. Put one of these creatures and the deadliest snake together, and let them begin the battle. Presently the weasel will be bitten by the serpent, and it will dart off into the next bush, will find the antidote to the poison, and will return to the fight. And so, again and again, till at last it seizes the snake and destroys it. That is strange in itself; but a thing yet stranger is this: A very large reward has been offered by the Government for the discovery of this antidote. If an animal can find it out, much more easily, one would think, can a man discover it. But it is not so. This creature has been watched again and again, but no one has ever yet been able to learn the remedy. God has given to it the knowledge, which He has denied to us. And so the true servant of Christ knows where to go for a cure against all the troubles that may befall him; where to seek peace in all the storms that beset him.

(J. M. Neale, D. D.)

New Testament Anecdotes.
A poor soldier was mortally wounded at the battle of Waterloo. His companion conveyed him to some distance and laid him down under a tree. Before he left him, the dying soldier entreated him to open his knapsack and take out his pocket Bible, and read to him a small portion of it before he died. When asked what passage he should read, he desired him to read John 14:27. "Now," said he, "I die happy. I desire to have peace with God, and I possess the peace of God which passeth all understanding." A little while after one of his officers passed him, and seeing him in such an exhausted state, asked him how he did. He said, "I die happy, for I enjoy the peace of God which passeth all understanding," and then expired. The officer left him and went into the battle, where he was soon after mortal]y wounded. When surrounded by his brother officers, full of anguish and dismay, he cried out, "Oh! I would give ten thousand worlds, if I had them, that I possessed that peace which gladdened the heart of a dying soldier, whom I saw lying under a tree; for he declared that he possessed the peace of God which passeth all understanding. I know nothing of that peace! I die miserable! for I die in despair!"

(New Testament Anecdotes.)

S. S. Times.
I. The peace of FORGIVENESS — the peace of the evening.

II. Peace in SERVICE — the peace of the morning.

III. Peace in SORROW — peace of dark hours.

(S. S. Times.)

"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.

(Dean Stanley.)

All the peace and favour of the world cannot calm a troubled heart; but where the peace is that Christ gives, all the trouble add disquiet of the world cannot disturb it. Outward distress to a mind thus at peace is but as the rattling of the hail upon the tiles to him that sits within the house at a sumptuous feast,

There was a martyr once in Switzerland standing barefooted on the fagots, and about to be burnt quick to the death — no pleasant prospect for him. He accosted the magistrate who was superintending his execution, and asked him to come near him. He said, "Will you please to lay your hand upon my heart. I am about to die by fire. Lay your hand on my heart. If it beats any faster than it ordinarily beats, do not believe my religion." The magistrate, with palpitating heart himself, and all in a tremble, laid his hand upon the martyr's bosom, and found that he was just as calm as if he was going to his bed rather than to the flames. Thai is a grand thing! To wear in your button hole that little flower called "heart's ease," and to have the jewel of contentment in your bosom — this is heaven begun below: godliness is great gain to him that hath it.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Not as the world giveth.
They cry "peace" when there is no peace, and make fair weather when such a storm of God's wrath is ready to be burst as shall never be blown over. They compliment and wish peace when war is in their hearts, as when the Pope sent away Henry III, in peace, but it was, saith the historian, not such as Jesus left His people.

(J. Trapp.)

The great ocean is in a constant state of evaporation. It gives back what it receives, and sends up its waters in mists to gather into clouds; and so there is rain on the fields, and storm on the mountains, and greenness and beauty everywhere. But there are many men who do not believe in evaporation. They get all they can and keep all they get, and so are not fertilisers, but only stagnant, miasmatic pools.

(H. W. Beecher.)

It promises much and gives but little. When the richest man, who has died in New York, within my memory was on his dying bed, he asked his attendants to sing for him. They sang the familiar old revival hymn, "Come, ye sinners, poor and needy." The dying millionaire said to them, in a plaintive tone, "Yes, please sing that again for me. I am poor and needy." Ah! what could fifty millions of railway securities and bank stocks do for him on the verge of eternity? One verse out of the fourteenth chapter of John could bring him more peace than all the mines of California multiplied by all the bonds in the National Treasury. "Poor and needy" was he? I count that one of the most pathetic sayings that ever fell from dying lips.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
The acceptableness and the force of advice depend upon our feelings with respect to the adviser. Now the Counsellor in this case is the Lord Jesus; entirely informed, thoroughly concerned, full of truth as well as full of grace, and so disinterested that He has for us already laid down His life. Look at —

I. THE WORDS THEMSELVES. They imply —

1. The possession of a power of control over our own hearts. Now how is the heart to be controlled? You cannot govern it directly; it is to be governed by means of the thoughts. If you would change the emotions, you must change the thoughts. To think only of our grievous and not of our joyous circumstances — only of the cloudy side of our grievous circumstances (and every cloud over us Christians has a silver lining), is to let our heart be troubled and be afraid. But to call off the thoughts from the circumstances which are grievous to those which are joyous, to think of God "as our refuge, and strength, and present help in the time of trouble," is to check the sorrow and to quench the fear.

2. Responsibility as to the exercise of such control. This is a power which you may not leave dormant. That which, in this case, we can do, we ought to do, because God requires it, and because the doing of it is essential to our well-being and right conduct. The difficulty does not lessen our obligation. God calls us all to do difficult things. The human being who never attempts a difficult thing is but half a man.

3. They do not require that we should harden our hearts against the due influence of grievous circumstances, or shut our eyes to danger or to threatening sorrow; but they do forbid and condemn —(1) The sorrow which confuses and discomposes a man — which hinders the performance of duty and prevents the use of consolation, and mars the enjoyment of present mercies. A man may be sad, and yet do his work. "He that goeth forth and weepeth bearing precious seed." Weeping is not to hinder working.(2) Fear. A girls' school in New York took fire, and all the children were thrown into the greatest state of excitement. But there sat upon a form one little girl who remained perfectly still. When the excitement was over the teacher said to her, "How is that you sat so still?" "Oh," said the little one, "my father is one of the firemen, and he told me that if ever I was in a building when an alarm of fire was given, to sit still." Your Father is employed in extinguishing the fire that would consume you. And you have been told to be quiet; and this because you can afford to be quiet.

4. Now the whole of this advice proceeds on the assumption that the disciple of Christ has sources of joy counteractive of his sorrows, and that he has no ground for fear.(1) The Saviour has charge of us individually.(2) The Father loves us.(3) A place is prepared for us.(4) A Comforter is sent to abide with us forever.(5) Jesus gives us His peace.

II. CASES TO WHICH THEY PARTICULARLY APPLY.

1. Some may be expecting bereavement. Death hath no sting to that loved one, and the grave can gain no victory.

2. Others are now bearing the anguish of the separation which death creates. Special promises are made to you; and He, who superintends the fulfilment of these promises, says, "let not your heart be troubled," etc.

3. Some are anticipating change — change of residence — emigration. Whither can you go from your Saviour's Spirit — or from your best Friend's presence?

4. A few are stretched and tortured on the rack of suspense. The uncertainty is only in your mind. Above, all things are arranged, and will work together for your good.

5. Many are enduring the pains of disappointment. But still there are hopes founded upon rock, of which no man can ever be ashamed. The hope of salvation, of eternal life, of paradise.

6. Diseases, like worms at the roots of plants, are surely bringing many of us to death and the grave — and their destructive work will one day be fully wrought. But death is only the beginning of new life.

7. Poverty, like an armed man, is beating down others. There is but one shield against this armed man — faith; but one weapon — lawful endeavour; and but one cordial and stimulant — prayer. And if you pray poverty, turning your face Christward, you will hear Christ in His sweetest whispers say, "Take no thought for tomorrow," etc.

8. Does persecution rage around some of you as a tempest? "Fear not them that kill the body."

(S. Martin.)

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