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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE PEACE OF CHRIST JESUS

John 14:27-31 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. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.

Jesus knew that on this very night He would be betrayed by Judas Iscariot, a once-trusted disciple. After which He would be taken by armed guards of the Sanhedrin, wrongfully accused by false witnesses, condemned by the Jewish counsel, sentenced to death by Roman authorities in order to satisfy a riotous mob of unbelieving Jewish zealots, and crucified by Roman soldiers on Mount Calvary. With all these terrible events to take place within a few hours hence, Jesus gave this parting benediction to His apostles. He had given them knowledge of all that God had revealed to Him about His New Covenant, and His plan of eternal salvation promised from the beginning of time. He, being a pauper that survived only on the things given Him by His followers, had nothing to call His own. He had no land, homes, buildings, or livestock - no worldly possessions to leave them as an inheritance. He had neither silver, gold, or precious jewels to give them as a reward for their three-plus years of devoted friendship.

Having nothing tangible to offer them, He gave them the only thing that He had to give. He gave them peace - peace of mind, the calm serenity that comes from harmony within one's soul that allows a joyful, inner contentment. Jesus consoled them by saying, Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. John began this chapter of his gospel with a similar promise of contentment to His apostles. Jesus told them, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (Vss. 1-3). Unlike the superficial wishes of peace offered by people of the world, and different from the benedictions of peace extended by philosophies and worldly religions, the peace offered by Jesus to His apostles, and all that obediently follow His doctrine, is given sincerely and completely. His peace can calm the most anxious mind, console the most remorseful heart, and restore contentment in the most care-laden life known to mankind. The world cannot offer peace capable of meeting the spiritually calming needs of one's soul. Only the peace offered by our Savior can lead us contentedly through life's pathways and also offer sufficient strength to face death, as well as joyfully looking forward to eternal salvation in heaven. Therefore, Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Again, Jesus gently rebukes His apostles for their failure to understand and accept the necessity of His departure, and told them once again, I go away, and come again unto you. Instead of heavy sadness, He gave them cause to rejoice. He promised to return to them once again. If that wasn't sufficient reason for them to rejoice, Jesus told them that He was returning to His Heavenly Father, for My Father is greater than I. Leaving this world, with its suffering, sorrow, and offending humiliation, and returning to His most wise and compassionate Heavenly Father, was the greatest reason for the apostles to rejoice. Why? Because living in heaven with His Father is the most wonderful state in which one can exist, far exceeding the most blissful state on earth, for My Father is greater than I. The telling of these events that must take place, was told by Jesus to His apostles beforehand for this reason: that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. The death, burial, resurrection, and ascension into heaven by Jesus must not cause His apostles to stumble and lose faith in Him as the promised Messiah, the Son of God. His prophecy of these events, and their fulfillment, should cause their belief in Him, and love for Him, to become even stronger. With His teaching practically at an end, Jesus awaited the events brought about by worldly powers of Satan that would lead to His death on the cross of Calvary. Let the world find the peace of Christ Jesus in knowing that these things were done because of His love and obedience to His Father, and for our hope of eternal salvation.