Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 14:27a (Holman) APeace I leave with you. My peace I give to you.@
Christ=s legacy was not huge by the world=s standards. He died the poorest of the poor, but did make a few bequests. His clothes fell to the soldiers; His mother was left to John; His spirit He committed to the Father, and His body went to Joseph of Arimethes.
The question was, what would He leave for His disciples, the men who had left all to follow Him? He had neither money nor possessions, yet left them something infinitely better: His peace.
Peace is a tranquil mind rising from assurance we are right before God. It is an inner calmness steadying us whatever trial we face. The world’s smiles cannot give God=s peace, and its frowns cannot take it away.
God’s peace allows us to stay calm when the fire alarms of life sound. In the midst of confusion, and chaos, we can be serene because our Father is extinguishing fires trying to consume us.
He has given us an unspeakable, immeasurable treasure: His peace. No wonder John Bunyan, when he became a believer, wanted to tell what he had experienced to the crows flocking the fields along his path.
John 14: 27b AI do not give to you as the world gives . . .@
Satan counterfeits every gift of God, including peace. The world=s peace is not the real thing, for several reasons. One, it is a delusion. The world cannot give peace, for it is not at peace with God or itself.
APeace to you@ is a common salutation in our world. The greeting is an indictment because the phrase dates to times when people deemed every stranger a potential enemy.
Even today the phrase is often hollow and meaningless. Sometimes it may be a heartfelt wish, or maybe even actually a prayer. However, even when given with our best intentions, there is no way one person can convey peace to another.
It is alarming how little we can do for one another=s tranquility. When I=m sad, Ruth loves and helps me, but even she cannot touch my innermost being. In all of us a part that dwells alone B a little island floating on an isolated sea.
In efforts to provide peace, people can only wish and pray. But Christ gives. When He speaks Apeace,@ it is conveyed, whether the object is a storm or a human heart.
Second, the world=s peace is counterfeit because it actually escapism. The world=s peace, refusing to face life head-on, desperately tries to ignore troubles. The world=s peace offers day-dreams, pleasures, amusements, jobs, busyness, noise, friends B anything to keep our minds occupied.
Some of us dare not be quiet because then we would be troubled. Some of us cannot meditate because it makes us sad. Sleep escapes us because our thoughts are filled with ghosts of trouble.
The world can excite us, thrill us, tantalize us and occupy our mind, but only Jesus can calm us. The world can only give spicy, titillating excitements to replace the last thrill it gave, which quickly turned flat and stale.
Third, Satan=s peace is counterfeit because it never fully satisfies. The devices of escapism never quite satisfy our innermost longings. People are always planning to be at peace someday, to be happy Aone of these days.@
This is an unending mirage. We are always beginning to live, planning to live, but never living. Our dream is to sit down in contentment, but it never comes. This world=s peace always leaves an aching void.
Fourth, the world=s peace is counterfeit because it endures only temporarily. What little satisfaction it does render is never permanent. The world=s peace distracts only temporarily from anxiety and strife. It can enable us to live life with relatively little interference for brief periods of time, but eventually the clock winds down. The world=s peace gives pleasure only to the body and only in this life. Christ=s peace enriches the spirit for eternity.
Fifth, the world’s peace is counterfeit because it results in death. The world=s peace gives its best pleasures at first. It begins in pleasure, but ends in ruin. Christ=s peace begins unpretentiously, but ends in joy. It grows in power and fullness of blessing.
The world=s peace is self-deception, a false security saying, APeace, peace, when there is no peace.@ This is a prelude to disaster. It is the peace of a person asleep in a boat headed for Niagara Falls.
Sinners at peace with themselves are deluded. Their sleep is the sleep of death. Christ=s peace is a refreshing sleep. The world=s peace is like a coma before death.
The devil works hard to destroy people through drugs of indifference. He puts them in an unconscious stupor with his poison of procrastination.
People away from God need to be terrified, to be jolted to their senses. To tell a lost man to be at ease and not worry is blasphemy. He needs to be encouraged to enter the storm of convictions in order to find the peace of salvation. The way to God’s peace lies through the path of distress. We must first be agitated before we can be pacified.
A dead conscience must never be equated with a conscience right with God. The former means condemnation, the latter brings everlasting life.
John 14:27c AYour heart must not be troubled or fearful.@
Believers, be careful to keep our peace strong. Christ=s peace is inseparable from His presence. It is an atmosphere that surrounds and accompanies Him. Sin diminishes it.
We must flinch from sin, for it keeps us from the peace we need. Peace of heart is too valuable to be without. We have been delivered from sin to peace, and need to fear any contact with evil.
Let Christ be our sole Treasure. All the world, without Christ, is nothing. But Christ without the world is sufficient.
Let us now see the difference between Christ=s peace and the world=s peace. A Swiss martyr approached his death at the stake and noticed that the magistrate overseeing the execution was quite nervous about handling such a distasteful task.
The martyr took the magistrate=s trembling hand and said, AI am about to die by fire. Lay your hand upon my heart. If it beats any faster than it ordinarily beats, do not believe my religion.@
As his hand was pressed against the martyr=s bosom, the trembling magistrate found the man was as calm as if he were going to bed.
All people want peace. They are striving for what they imagine will be a more settled condition of life. Such peace is found only in Jesus.
A patient who has the worst disease finds peace, not by ignoring the problem, but by having it diagnosed, and controlled with medication.
Christ=s peace arises from an accurate appraisal of our fallen state followed by accepting the remedy. Confess sin, repent, and flee to Jesus.