May 27, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you;
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
The ministry of the Lord in the upper room, often referred to as His ‘farewell ministry’ can be appreciated in several different ways. One aspect of His teaching is to consider the legacy the Lord was leaving His disciples.
The final words of men are recorded in several different places in our Bible: Jacob in Genesis 49; Joshua in Joshua 24; David in 2 Samuel 23 and 1 Chronicles 29; Moses in Deuteronomy 33. Some left promises; others left prophecies and prospects. There were those who left an example to follow and exhortations to stir. There were songs and there were sighs. While their final words and legacies are a rich mine of truth to enjoy and explore, they fall short of what we have here. None did, nor could, leave the legacy which Christ left His disciples … and us.
In John 15:10 He spoke of ‘My love’. In verse 11, He added, ‘My joy’ and here in John 14:27 He left us His peace. Love, joy, peace – the first cluster from the vine of fruit which the Spirit of God develops in each believer (Galatians 5:22). But this is not what is being developed in us; it is what was His and He left for us. They were in all their fullness in Christ, and He has left them for us to know and enjoy.
‘My peace’ is not the peace we enjoy when we realize our sins have been forgiven and that there is nothing between us and God. This is the peace He enjoyed as He moved here. It is the peace of absolute contentment with the Father’s will. Notice, however, when He spoke of His peace (and His joy and love): it was in the shadow of Calvary. He was enjoying the peace of total confidence in, and commitment to, His Father.
Elsewhere we are told that His soul was troubled (12:27); here we are told He knew perfect peace. There is no contradiction. Calvary is the mystery of blended sorrow and joy, of peace and anguish, of grief and gladness. He went to Calvary singing a Psalm (Matt 26:30), with worship in His heart to His Father. “This is the day that the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad … Thou art My God and I will praise Thee; Thou art My God and I will exalt Thee. O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good; for His mercy endureth for ever.” (Ps 118:24, 28, 29).
He knew no fear; He expressed no doubts. In perfect, undisturbed peace, He moved through life and on to a cross. He has left that peace for us to know and experience.
1. Notice the verses which bracket the teaching of chapter 14. “Let not your heart be troubled” (vv 1, 27). All that is in between these identical statements in chapter 14 is the key to enjoying His peace.
2. He had peace even though He knew the Prince of this world was coming to expose Him to His greatest test (v 30). Elsewhere He spoke of the cross as “your hour and the power of darkness.” (Luke 22:53). How did Satan assault the Lord Jesus at Calvary?