Peace I leave with you
Christ being about to die and leave his disciples, makes his last will and testament, and as the best legacy he could leave them, bequeaths peace unto them;
my peace I give unto you:
he left the Gospel of peace with them, to be preached by them to all the world; which is a declaration and publication of peace made by his blood; is a means of reconciling the minds of men to God and Christ, to the truths, ordinances, and people of Christ; of relieving and giving peace to distressed minds; and which shows the way to eternal peace: and as Christ had kept his disciples in peace one with another, so he left them in peace; and left orders with them to maintain it one among another: but what seems chiefly designed here, is peace with God, which Christ is the sole author of; he was appointed in the council and covenant of peace to effect it; he became incarnate with that view, and did procure it by his sufferings and death; and as it was published by angels, when he came into the world, he left it, and gave it to his disciples when he was going out of it: or else that peace of conscience is meant, which follows upon the former, which arises from the sprinklings of the blood of Christ, and from a comfortable view, by faith, of an interest in his justifying righteousness, and is enjoyed in a way of believing, and commonly in the use of ordinances "leaving" it supposes that Christ was about to leave his disciples, but would not leave them comfortless; he leaves a Comforter with them, and bequeaths peace unto them as his last legacy: "giving" it, shows that it is not to be acquired by any thing that man can do, but is a pure free grace gift of Christ; and which being given as his legacy, is irrevocable; for the allusion is to the making of a will or testament when persons are about to die: though some have thought it refers to the custom of wishing peace, health, and prosperity, among the Jews; but Christ does not say "peace be to you"; which was the more usual form of salutation among them, and which was used by them when they met, and not at parting; especially we have no instance of such a form as here used, by dying persons taking their leaves of their relations and friends. It must indeed be owned that the phrase, "to give peace", is with them the same as to salute, or wish health and prosperity. Take two or three of their rules as instances of it;
``whoever knows his friend, that he is used (Mwlv wl Ntyl) F1, "to give him peace"; he shall prevent him with peace (i.e. salute him first), as it is said, "seek peace and pursue it"; but if he "gives" it to him, and he does not return it, he shall be called a robber.''Again,
``F2 a man may not go into the house of a stranger, on his feast day, (Mwlv wl Ntyl) , "to give peace unto him" (or salute him); if he finds him in the street, he may give it to him with a low voice, and his head hanging down;''once F3 more,
``a man (Mwlv Nty al) , "not give peace to", or salute his master, nor return peace to him in the way that they give it to friends, and they return it to one another.''Likewise it must be owned, that when they saluted persons of distinction, such as princes, nobles, and doctors, they repeated the word "peace" F4, though never to any strangers; however, certain it is, that it was another sort of peace which Christ left, and gave to his disciples, than what the Jews were wont to give, or wish to one another;
not as the world giveth, give I you.
The peace Christ gives is true, solid, and substantial; the peace the world, the men, and things of it give, is a false one; and whilst they cry, "peace, peace, sudden destruction is at hand": the peace of the world is at best but an external one, but the peace Christ is the giver of, is internal; the peace the world affords is a very transient, unstable, and short lived one, but the peace of Christ is lasting and durable; the peace of the world will not support under the troubles of it, but the peace which Christ gives, cheerfully carries his people through all the difficulties and exercises of this life: and as these differ in kind, so likewise in the manner of giving, and in the persons to whom they are given; the world gives peace in words only, Christ in deed; the world gives feignedly, Christ heartily; the world gives it for its own advantage, Christ for his people's sake; the world gives its peace to the men of it, to the ungodly, none to the godly, whom it hates; Christ gives his; not to the wicked, for there is no peace to them, but to the saints, the excellent in the earth. Wherefore says Christ,
let not your heart be troubled;
at my departure from you, since I leave such a peace with you:
neither let it be afraid:
at the dangers you may be exposed unto, and the trouble you may be exercised with; for in the midst of them all, "in me ye shall have peace", ( John 16:33 ) .
F1 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 6. 2.
F2 T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 62. 1. Maimon. Obede Cochabim, c. 10. sect. 5.
F3 Maimon. Talmud Tora, c. 5. sect. 5.
F4 T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 62. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Melacim. c. 10. sect. 12.