What did Jesus mean when He said, 'Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you' (John 14:27)?
In the Upper Room Discourse (John 13—17), Jesus encourages the disciples, preparing them for coming hardships so they wouldn't be sorrowful and so their hearts wouldn't be troubled (John 14:1). For quite some time prior, Jesus had been telling His disciples that He would die and be raised again, but that message didn't seem to get through to them. In this context He is giving them the difficult news that He has to leave them, but with that news He explains that He will return one day (verses 1–3) and that He will provide for them in the meantime. Jesus helps them understand that He is giving them incredible power and they can ask the Father anything in His name and He would do it for them (verses 12–13). He would empower them for great things, as He later explains they would be His witnesses all over the world (see Acts 1:8). But perhaps more comforting than even these things, Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you" (John 14:27).
Jesus explains that "the Helper" would come—the Holy Spirit—so that they would not be left alone (John 14:16, 26). In fact, Jesus explains that the Holy Spirit would abide with them and even in them. Later, Jesus would say to them that He would be with the disciples even until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). While He would physically depart to go to heaven until it was time for Him to return, Jesus would be with them through His Spirit, so they did not need to be worried or anxious. They did not need to feel as if they had been left alone like orphans (John 14:18). He would return, and while He was away His Spirit (the Holy Spirit) would be with them and in them. In John 14:27 Jesus repeats the encouragement He had voiced earlier (verse 1) not to be worried and not to let their hearts be troubled, because He was leaving them with His peace. He explains that this is different from the kind of peace the world provides. The world offers false security and can't keep us from having anxious hearts or being worried. The world offers no hope and no real peace.
Jesus, unlike the world, is able to provide His disciples with certain and trustworthy peace. He provides the real solution to anxiety, worry, loneliness, and other things that would make us insecure and disturb us. Specifically, the solution was that Jesus would always be with them. Even when He was physically apart from them, He would be with them because His Spirit would live in them. The Holy Spirit would uniquely empower and teach these particular disciples, bringing to their memory all that Jesus had said (John 14:26). The Holy Spirit would guide them into all the truth so they would even understand what would happen in the future (John 16:12–14). Peter later explains that the Holy Spirit did just that, moving certain men so that they would be able to speak and write the Word of God (2 Peter 1:20–21). This is how the Holy Spirit would communicate the truth to the disciples, and the Bible would be completed.
Just like Jesus wouldn't leave or forsake His disciples then, He won't leave or forsake us now (Hebrews 13:5–6; 8). Jesus has given us His peace as well. When we believe in Jesus, not only are we given new and eternal life (John 6:47), but the Holy Spirit is our guarantee of that new life (Ephesians 1:13–14), and He comes to live with and inside of us (see Romans 8:9 and 1 Corinthians 6:19). Jesus taught the disciples that peace doesn't come from the absence of difficult circumstances. Instead, peace comes from knowing that the Lord is with us—and in us, through His Spirit, if we have believed in Him. Because of that, we can have real peace, and instead of spending our time and energies being worried and anxious, we can do what He has designed for us to do: abide in Him (John 15:1–11—another way to say that we can walk with Him) and love one another (John 15:12, 17).
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