“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let
your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14.27
Through Jesus you can also experience genuine peace within yourself. Internal peace is a sense of wholeness, contentment, tranquility, order, rest, and security. Although nearly everyone longs for this kind of peace, it eludes most people. Genuine internal peace cannot be directly obtained through our own efforts; it is a gift that God gives only to those who believe in his Son and obey his commands (I John 3:21-24). In other words, internal peace is a by-product of righteousness…Adapted from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 46.
Food for Thought
When it comes to peace, whose definition are you using?
The world defines peace as the absence of conflict. No more war, no more injustice, no more ________ — you fill in the blank. Jesus defines peace as the presence of the Comforter, right in the middle of wars and rumors of wars. Remember? His peace is not as the world gives/defines.
As Jesus speaks to his disciples in John 14, notice his target: “Do not let your hearts…” He is speaking about their internals, if you will. Ken’s emphasis in this passage from The Peacemaker is also on an internal peace, not necessarily an external one. Miss that difference and you miss an important peace.
Jesus’ desire is that those hearts not be troubled. A little investigation into that word troubled and you’ll find that one of the primary meanings is to be stirred. Imagine a huge pitcher of sugar-induced, southern iced tea. Now picture mama’s hand coming up with a long wooden spoon, sticking it down in the middle of that pitcher, and swirling it around. That’s the image here. Jesus does not want their hearts to be stirred, as in something coming in and stirring them internally.
Jesus was well aware of what was to come, and he was trying to relay that to his friends. Phrases like, “the world will not see me anymore,” “the world will hate you,” and “anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God,” no doubt shook the disciples. It wasn’t just about to get hot in the kitchen; the whole house was about to burn down. The peace that Jesus was giving to his disciples was internal, not external. He wasn’t trying to keep them from being shaken, but rather from being stirred. “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17.15). Placing our trust in him and his goodness and his righteousness allows us to “keep on keepin’ on” even when the earth’s foundations are shaking.