Jesus’s Free, Irrevocable Peace
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.” (John 14:27a)
Most of us have had to work hard to support ourselves financially. We learned (or are learning) to save for our children’s college funds, weddings, new homes, new cars, and retirement. Proverbs teaches that as we take time working we develop the character necessary to handle that work. A sudden windfall, such as an inheritance [or winning the lottery] is dangerous because the recipient hasn’t developed the required character and habits to handle the funds wisely. (1) However, spiritual gifts are not like material possessions and are all given to us by Jesus Christ at the time of regeneration. Peace is one such gift that we need to learn to appreciate, enjoy, and use wisely.
In this verse, Jesus emphasizes that he is “giving” peace, which “shows that it is not to be acquired by anything that man can do, but is a pure free gift of Christ; and which being given as his legacy, is irrevocable.” (2) The free gift of peace from Jesus is true shalom—spiritual wellbeing and contentment with God. It is the effect of reconciliation with God made possible by Jesus atoning, sacrificial death. This peace cannot be earned and is given immediately upon our conversion, so we must learn, over time, to understand and employ it appropriately with others.
This supernatural peace is also Jesus’ legacy to all believers, his heirs. It is an inheritance that has been purchased at great cost to Christ but given freely to those who belong to him. What does one do with an overwhelmingly great inheritance? Hopefully, we pray about how we might use it for God’s kingdom and give away vast portions of it, in love and appreciation for having received that which we do not deserve. This is not the peace the world works at in the U.N. and various treaties among nations, that is tentative, delicate, and temporal; it is definite, eternal, and irrevocable. Once we receive peace with God in Christ, we cannot lose it, although we frequently forget that we have lasting peace in him.
Jesus said “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He said, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1) How can you more effectively remember, appreciate, and use the peace Jesus has given you?
(1) Keller, Timothy and Keller, Kathy, “God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life,” October 21 (Proverbs 13:11; 20:21), Viking, New York, 2017.
(2) John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, John 14:27, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-14.html