Summary: Jesus comforts his disciples with peace, joy and faith knowing that his death is planned and that it is for their good.
Jesus comforts his disciples so they’ll be ready for his crucifixion. They’ll be shocked and scared, but the Holy Spirit will show them all its benefits. Today we’re going to look at four of them:
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.
The first benefit of Christ’s death is peace. The Greek word for “leave” doesn’t mean to leave something behind; in this context it means to “hand over.” Christ hands his peace over to the disciples. The world can’t do that because it has no spiritual fruit to give. The world can talk about peace, and it can possibly refrain from violence, but it can never produce the Spirit’s fruit.
The disciples will have this fruit as a gift while living in the world. It’s peace for sheep in a wolves’ den and for disciples without a master. It’s not saying they’ll be trouble-free while in the world; rather they’ll have peace despite their troubles. Paul describes it as the peace that passes understanding: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. 5Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:4-7).
His peace is based on the fact that he is at hand. That means that he sees all our troubles. He meets all our needs. He’s coming back with his reward. That’s what he means when he tells them that he and the Father will abide in them. He’s at hand, and they’ve got no worries as long as that’s true. They don’t need to worry about what will happen or what they need; they just wait on God, and he’ll provide everything.
It “passes understanding” because it’s inexplicable. It’s what Jesus had when the waves threatened to sink the boat (Mk. 4:38). He could have been fretting with everyone else, but what would be the point in that? He knows God has everything in his hands, and nothing can happen that won’t be for good.
Someone might point out that he knew all things (even the day of his death), so of course he wasn’t afraid. But what about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Where did they get their peace? The king threatened to throw them into the furnace, and it’s clear from their response that they didn’t know the future: “our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan. 3:17-18). Not even an angry king with a hot furnace could take away the fruit they had as a gift from God.
There’s another example in the New Testament: “And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the gaelor to keep them safely: 24Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 25And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them” (Acts 16:23-25). Even after taking a beating and being locked up in stocks these two men had peace because they knew that God was with them, and that he could hear their praises.
Now, there’s something here for us too. We have peace for the same reasons. First of all, it’s a gift from Christ. God’s not telling you that you have to find peace or that you have to be fake when something bad happens. God’s telling you that he gives his peace to his followers, and that his peace is real and true. It’s not like what the world gives; it’s unlike anything they can muster. It’s not fleshly or earthly. It’s spiritual and holy and confident.
This peace isn’t conditional; your circumstances can’t change it. Satan can’t take it. People can’t take it. Sickness can’t take it. Hunger can’t. Persecution can’t. Death can’t. Nothing can: Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:33-39).