This verse can be described as the legacy of Jesus. ‘When Christ was about to leave the world he made his will. His soul he committed to his Father; his body he bequeathed to Joseph, to be decently interred; his clothes fell to the soldiers; his mother he left to the care of John: but what should he leave to his poor disciples, that had left all for him? Silver and gold he had none; but he left them that which was infinitely better, his peace’ (Matthew Henry).
It is evident from the context that the disciples were distraught and confused, and this is the second time that Jesus has referred to their state of concern in the chapter (14:1). Probably the main reason that the disciples were afraid of the future was Jesus’ words indicating that he was about to leave them. Another reason may have been his prediction that they all would deny him within a short time. Connected to this reason was his announcement that he would be betrayed, arrested and killed. These reasons can be summarised under the headings of disappointment and distress.
When we think of the Bible’s teaching on peace, it is helpful to view it from three perspectives. First, there is peace with God which is brought about through faith in Christ’s atoning death (justification). Second, there is peace with fellow-humans, which is accomplished in the church of Christ, in which the racial, social and gender divisions of sinful society have been replaced by membership of the family of God (adoption). Third, there is the personal experience of peace which comes as part of and as a result of inner renewal (sanctification). It is this third aspect that Jesus is referring to here, although we should recognise that the other two are assumed as being in existence.
We shall consider the personal peace of Jesus tomorrow.