Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. . . . Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
PEACE IS A GIFT for troubled times, but it doesn’t immediately eliminate the troubled times.
When Jesus promised to leave the gift of peace with His disciples, He knew they would need it. He was preparing to send them into a large, dangerous world with a divisive, unpopular message: that Jesus is the true King.
The Greek and Latin words for peace, eirene and pax respectively, would have been well-known by the disciples. These were the words Julius Caesar and his successors used when they proclaimed that they had brought peace to the Roman Empire through their conquests and administration. Eventually, the tiny band of Jesus’ disciples was seen as a threat to this pax romana, and many of them were put to death for their “treason.”
However, the disciples would have also known the Hebrew word for peace, shalom. No single English word can do justice to the richness of this Hebrew concept. More than an absence of war or conflict, shalom conveyed the sense that everything was as it should be . . . because God is on His throne.
When Jesus sent out His disciples—and as you are sent out as well—He sent them with His peace: the absolute assurance of God’s presence and support. God’s peace does not always remove us from the conflict, but it does sustain us in its midst.
Rest in the peace that comes from knowing Jesus is Lord and Redeemer.
Kevin Scott is a pastor, acquisitions editor, and author of ReCreatable. He lives in Noblesville, Indiana, with his wife and three children.