Not long before my grandmother passed away, she called me into her room and pulled a small treasure from behind her back. “When you were little, I told you this would be yours one day.” Then grandma placed her ruby ring in my palm.
The ring is special to me—not because of its worth, but because I adored my grandmother, and it is the last gift I received from her.
In the same way, Christ had gathered his disciples to warn them of his death and give them something of value. But unlike my grandmother’s ring, Jesus’s gift was intangible and of incalculable value. John 14:27 (NIV) explains, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”
Do you have peace today?
What Does 'My Peace I Give You' Mean?
Rather than greeting one another with a handshake, Hebrew men at the time of Christ welcomed or parted ways with the words, “Shalom, shalom” —which means peace. But, Jesus said, “my peace I give you.” What did Jesus mean?
According to Biblehub.com, the Greek translation of peace is eiréné. The root is thought to mean “to join or set at one again” while its everyday use inferred quietness or rest.
Christ lived a life of peace and, as a result, was offering his followers peace in at least three specific areas.
Peace with God. Whether He faced storms, temptations, or trials, Jesus remained rooted in God. John 10:30 (KJV) reads, “I and the Father are one.” In other words, they were “joined together” or at peace with one another.
Christ’s disciples and other believers also receive a oneness or peace with God through Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross which provided a way for people to be “set at one again” in a relationship that had been fractured as the result of the fall of man.
Peace with self. Our society is flooded with stories about people struggling with poor self-image. Despite his humble birth and servant-leadership style, Jesus did not grapple with identity issues. Without apology, Jesus announced his deity when He proclaimed, “before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:48 ESV).
When we accept Christ’s gift of peace, we begin to understand our identity rests in what God says about us. Even though we will continue to struggle with sin, our faith in Jesus will produce peace—that sense of quiet rest, through the fruit of the Spirit.
Peace with others. When Christ gave his followers the gift of peace, they could not have known this would alter their relationship with the Romans who oppressed them. But after Jesus’ resurrection, the Lord commissioned the disciples saying, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15 NKJV).
“Every creature” included the Romans. In obedience to Christ’s command and transformed by His life and resurrection, men who had detested the Romans began ministering to and caring for them.
The Prince of Peace also equips us to share His love with those with whom we may not agree, understand, or be like. Scripture reminds us that “if possible” we are to “…live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18 ESV).
Why Was it Important that Jesus Said 'My Peace I Give You' before His Ascension?
A soldier for many years, my husband frequently deployed to out-of-the-way places. Because communication was limited during his months away from home, he penned “daddy” notes in advance for our two small boys which I delivered and read each morning before breakfast.
These notes filled our children with hope as they anticipated their father’s return and reminded them of his love. They also provided reassurance, comfort, and encouragement.
When Christ gave his disciples the guarantee of peace before His ascension, He also extended a reminder of secure love, reassurance, comfort, and encouragement.
They would need it. After all, the disciples witnessed or were aware of all Jesus endured including the following:
- falsely accused and stood trial before Herod (Matthew 27:11-14; Mark 15:2-5; Luke 23:1-5; John 18:28-37), sent to Herod (Luke 23:6-12)
- returned to Pilate, scourged, and sentenced to death (Luke 23:11, Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15; Luke 23:23-24; John 19:1-6), led to Golgotha (Matthew 27:32-34; Mark 15:21-24; Luke 23:26-31; John 19:16-17)
- tortured and crucified (Mark 15: 25, Luke 23:34, Mark 15:24, John 19:30, Luke 23:46), laid in a tomb (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42)
The disciples would hide in the upper room—unsure and mourning the death of their leader. Jesus had promised them His peace, but it is unlikely they understood what He meant until the miraculous happened. John 20:19 (NTL) reads…on “Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said (John 20:19 NLT).
What were the first words Jesus said when greeting the disciples?
Peace be with you.
Why Is Jesus Known as the Prince of Peace?
An Old Testament birth announcement composed by the prophet Isaiah gave Christ one of His many titles, the Prince of Peace. That Bible verse, Isaiah 9:6 (NLT), also tells us “the government will rest on His shoulders.”
In our world, few if any governments rule peacefully. The kings, chiefs, despots, presidents, and other officials often battle for power and influence. And, unfortunately, countries war with one another and even within their own boundaries.
The position Jesus holds as the Prince, or Sar, of Peace is far different from what we see around us. This is no ordinary person. Sar means ruler or chief of angels.
Christ, who claimed equality with God as mentioned earlier in the article, is the ruler of angels and the chief of all government. He will not be overthrown, overcome, or overpowered. He has proven that through His resurrection.
In addition, the word for Peace in this verse is from the Hebrew, shalom, which means: 1) wholeness and 2) peace and safety.
Like me, you may long for a city, country, and world that lives in continual wholeness, peace, and safety. Without division and free of racism, hatred, and strife. A world of shalom. That is the sort of rule Jesus will bring when He returns as the Prince of Peace. You can read more about His coming rule here.
How Does Jesus Give Us Peace Today?
During the same discussion in which Jesus promised the disciples His peace, He also comforted them by saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…My Father’s house has many rooms…I am going there to prepare a place for you” (John 14:1-2 NIV).
God’s promises are as true for us as they were the early disciples. When our newsfeed swells with bad news or social media spills over with negativity, we can meditate on Christ’s words as we look forward to a hope-filled future.
But knowing the words of Scripture, understanding His promises, and growing in our relationship with God requires action on our part. We will not be at peace if we are not soaking in His presence.
Imagine you marry someone you adore. A few months after the wedding, you feel comfortable in your relationship and stop texting at random times, refuse to visit the in-laws because they annoy you, and decide spending time together is useless since you are already married. A marriage relationship with lackluster devotion deteriorates.
In the same way, our relationship with Jesus suffers—along with our peace—if we fail to spend time communicating and learning from Him through prayer and worship, reading Scripture, and other spiritual disciplines.
If you are struggling to find peace, seek Him; Jesus longs to give you His shalom.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez
Tammy Kennington is a writer and speaker familiar with the impact of trauma, chronic illness, and parenting in the hard places. Her heart is to lead women from hardship to hope. You can meet with Tammy at her blog www.tammykennington.com where she’ll send you her e-book, Moving from Pain to Peace-A Journey Toward Hope When the Past Holds You Captive.
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.
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