(John 14:27 ESV) 27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
The NET Bible translators comment —
In spite of appearances, this verse does not introduce a new subject (peace). Jesus will use the phrase as a greeting to his disciples after his resurrection (John 20:19, John 20:21, John 20:26). It is here a reflection of the Hebrew shalom as a farewell. But Jesus says he leaves peace with his disciples. This should probably be understood ultimately in terms of the indwelling of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, who has been the topic of the preceding verses. It is his presence, after Jesus has left the disciples and finally returned to the Father, which will remain with them and comfort them.
I don’t so much disagree as think that Jesus is asking us to consider the Spirit from a different angle — the angle of peace.
Shalom, meaning peace, was, of course, a standard greeting and farewell among the Jews, but among Jews, it was a prayer and a hope. When Jesus gives peace, it’s a blessing, a change in reality, a transformation of the heart or even the world.
Jesus gives the disciples peace as a blessing, not a mere aspiration. They should have peace in their hearts and peace with God. They’ll go through unimaginable turmoil! But this will be external and temporary. In terms of what really matters, they’ll have the gift of peace.
This peace is given, in part, by the Spirit — the Comforter. The Spirit can indeed assure our hearts and sooth our spirits. But this peace is more than a feeling, even more than a feeling arising from a true worldview. It’s a relationship with Jesus and the Father. It’s not merely peace, it’s “my peace.” It’s peace given by and peace with Jesus.
They’ll mess up. They’ll even abandon Jesus for a while. But they will still have the gift of his peace. They’ll still have his grace, not merely the hope and prayer for grace, but the promise of grace.
(John 14:28-29 ESV) 28 “You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.”
The disciples were doubtlessly in tears at the thought of losing Jesus. And terrified. The Son of God was going away!
Jesus explains that this is a good thing, because to go away is to go to the Father. Jesus will be glorified! This is a blessing, indeed, the hope of the world.
Jesus is speaking more plainly now so that the disciples will have a framework within which to interpret the events that will soon happen and so have their faiths strengthened rather than destroyed.
And yet the trial and crucifixion of Jesus did threaten their faith. How could it not? People are people, and no one can celebrate the cruel crucifixion of a friend, even if it is to save the world. That sort of perspective comes much, much later.
(John 14:30-31 ESV) 30 “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”
Actually, Jesus has three more chapters to go. This is a preacher’s “and finally.” He’s moving on to the next point, but he’s only halfway through the discourse.
The “ruler of the world” is, of course, Satan. Jesus believes in Satan. He sees his crucifixion and resurrection as a battle against Satan and his demons. This is a cosmic battle being fought on the ground of earth.
We Westerners struggle to believe in evil angels and such like. It’s seems so superstitious, but the Bible is quite clear on the subject, and it makes a whole lot of sense. We covered this in the series on the powers within the earlier series on atonement.