Peace … My Peace

John 14:27  •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 7
There are two characters of peace presented to us in this verse. "Peace I leave with you" is not the same thing as "My peace I give unto you." Peace we need in every form. Peace we need first of all for the conscience, and the Lord would set the consciences of His disciples happy and free before God. Now this was one, and indeed we may say the main, object of our Lord's coming here—specially of His death. As we are told elsewhere, He "m a d e peace through the blood of His cross." And so in the fullness of this peace, when He rises from the dead, first He says, "Peace be unto you"-a peace that so suffices, so overflows, that our Lord repeats it a second time in connection with the mission on which He was sending them out. "Peace be unto you: as My Father bath sent Me, even so send I you." Chap. 20:21.
The first blessed peace is between God and our souls, peace as regards the old war which we kept up against God when we were enemies. But this is not everything. When we have found it, know it, rest in it, it is absolutely necessary for the well-being of our souls that we should know Christ's peace. This at once shows the difference. Christ never needed the peace which we did as having been at enmity with God; and yet it was His to enjoy peace, after a sort, which had never been before. Therefore He adds not merely "Peace I leave with you," but "My peace I give unto you"—the peace which He ever enjoyed, which reigned within Him and lit up all around Him.
And it is remarkable as confirming this that in Col. 3, where we have the expression, "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts," it really is "the peace of Christ." "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body." He, the Head of the body, was always in the perfect and unbroken enjoyment of this peace—not as if He had ever been out of it, or needed to have it made for Him, but as One whom nothing ever agitated. He might suffer, sorrow, groan, weep—all these He knew—but yet in all these His peace abode.
No doubt at the cross there was a wholly different experience. We cannot speak of peace there. But that which He tasted there, we are never called to know in the slightest degree. We could not even approach that furnace heated seventy times seven, where every question was settled between God and His beloved Son as to our sins. There was a suffering there which was altogether peculiar to itself, before which all others must be silent at God's word; the great and solemn judgment of sin was to take its course between God and Christ, and that hour abides isolated and alone forever. But, excepting such a scene and season which thus stood apart from all others, as respected Christ in His ordinary dealings with God (whatever might be the zeal of His heart which ate Him up), there was one thing which never changed. That zeal was not always in exercise, but was always surely there so as to meet whatever required it to be called out. But all was in its just place, because there was One that waited upon God and that drew on the infinite resources of God for each moment. "I live," as He said, because of "the Father." Thus, whatever the zeal, He might occasionally burn with indignation against those that defiled the house of His Father; whatever the tender compassion that yearned over sorrow, whatever the rebuke that convicted the disciples of their unbelief, and whatever the righteous displeasure of His soul that tore off witheringly the pride and hypocrisy of men who put on a cloak of religion, there was one thing that never failed, for it never was absent, but was in full mighty flow in His soul; and this was His peace. What a thought that such is the peace which He gives to us!
Jesus leaves with us, as a last legacy that comes to us from His death, peace—the righteously won portion for the soul that believes in His name.
But "My peace" seems to be a deeper and more personal boon, not procured by His work only, but fresh from His own heart which was ever filled with it to overflowing. It supposes the peace that He has made for us by the blood of His cross, and left to us; but it follows on and puts us wondrously in communion with Himself, enjoying now the peace He Himself enjoyed, although it were of all things as marked and characteristic as any other perhaps which could be named. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. He gives to us His peace; He the Lord of peace, who walked in it as none else ever did, tried as only He was or could be. 0 may we treasure His peace!
There is another scripture to which I would briefly refer—2 Thess. 3:1616Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:16): "Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means."
We hear repeatedly of God's giving Himself the title of the God of peace. "The Lord of peace" is a much more unusual expression. I do not think they mean exactly the same thing, however closely connected. "The God of peace" points to Him as the source of it. He alone could be. Peace is what a sinful creature least of all knows. How could he, who is at war with God? The wretched pleasure of a fallen being is change. To this he has recourse as his miserable diversion from facing the true condition of his soul, his past life, his present state, and all that lies before him. He is afraid to look at things as they are; he dreads to search too closely unto himself; and he shrinks back from the God that he knows he has despised, and for whose presence he is unfit. What a change when that God is known to that soul as the God of peace! And yet it is not that God is changed, but the soul. For God is the God of peace, but that soul only knows Him to have become so to himself by a new creation and by redemption. He is delivered from his former self and hence is placed in Christ—the One who has banished all his evil and brought him into His own good.
It is impossible that God could be other than the God of peace, for He has through Christ's redemption on the cross completely put away all with which otherwise He must be at war for the one to whom He displays Himself and has given the very life of Christ to be his life. God could not but love and value and delight in what is of Christ. What can be simpler? And it is God who effects this great change—not by His own changing, as if the Creator were a creature variable like ourselves-but Christ, and no longer self, makes all the difference. Let us hold this fast, rejoicing that we have nothing to put forward before our God—nothing to boast in for our soul—but that now we have Christ whom once we despised and abhorred.
But then "the Lord of peace" is another phase of the truth which has its own blessed importance. It is not God who has made peace through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and who can therefore afford to be the God of peace to him who has Christ. But "the Lord of peace" directs us to Christ Himself. It is not that He is our peace only, which is very true, and the epistle to the Ephesians tells us that Christ Himself is our peace. An astonishing manifestation of what grace has given us in Him! He is the Lord of peace also. By that I understand that He is not only the Lord of us and of all, but that He is the One who knows how to bring about peace—the One who is above all the circumstances that tend to disturb. Elsewhere we read of this peace.
In this chapter the Lord Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you"; that is, He has left peace as the fruit of His death. But then He gives us the same character of peace which He enjoyed Himself. The peace that He has "left" is the peace that we receive by faith in Him The peace that Christ gives is peace in communion with Him after we have received peace through His death. And a wonderful thing it is that such hearts as ours should be capable of such communion with Him in that which is naturally so contrasted with our own condition. And the reason is this, that we know that God now has replaced the first man by the second; and the more simply we apply this to our own souls, the more calm we are amid things that tend to trouble. We can count upon Him. If they are things quite outside our control, in whose hands are they? We know that they are in the hands of God, and our God is the God of peace. What we have to guard against is our own will, our own nature being acted upon; for we ought not to be governed by circumstances. We are brought into the light of the presence of God; it is there that we walk, and the believing this and resting upon it as the truth of our God for which we have nothing to show but His word is precisely the point of faith for us day by day. What a deliverance from everything like deceit or from crooked or unlovely or ungenerous or unchristian-like ways, which we shall be sure to fall into if we lose sight of Him. We are never so if we are consciously walking in the light [although we are always in the light]; but when we are not, then self is sure to show itself in the various forms of fallen Adam.
We have the Lord of peace to look to, who is at the helm and not only preserves the ship but controls the elements. "The Lord of peace Himself," for we count not upon circumstances, not upon people; for those we count most upon we often have the deepest sorrow from. And it is well for us to learn this profitable lesson, that God will not allow us to make an idol of anything or any one. We have God above everything; and not only that, but we have a Man above everything—a Man who loves us perfectly—a Man at the head of the universe, glorified and set over all the works of God's hands. That Man is our Lord, and our Lord is the Lord of peace. "Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means." What a blessing! Surely it is in His power, and "faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."