“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:26–27
Peace. What is peace?
Many years ago I heard a story that was told to illustrate what true peace was. It was about two painters that were commissioned to paint a scene depicting what they thought true peace might be like.
The first painter traveled to a lake, high in the mountains, and there painted a scene of rugged peaks and majestic trees, eagles flying in the clear blue sky and all of this reflected in the crystal clear water.
The second painter traveled to a war torn part of the planet and there, amidst bombed out buildings and burned out cars and the action of battle, he painted a mother bird sitting on her nest, sheltering her eggs with her head tucked under one wing, sleeping.
This story is meant to illustrate what realistic peace is like for you and I in this sin filled world. We dream of what the first painter depicted but the reality is that most days are besieged by danger, difficulty and stress and the best we can really hope for is what the second painter illustrated.
But Jesus was talking about something else when he made his promise of peace in John 14:27. Peace isn’t something you can give directly. Peace is the result of the presence of something or someone else, and in the verse just before Jesus’ promise of peace he tells us who it is that’s going to be the source of that peace.
The Helper, the Holy Spirit, he’s the source of the peace that Jesus promises. That’s why he can promise that his peace isn’t like any peace you can find in this world. The world’s peace is far more fragile and fleeting than the peace the Holy Spirit gives.
In just a few hours Jesus will demonstrate how resilient the peace given by the Holy Spirit is by quietly, and confidently, enduring the abuses of his trials and execution. By contrast the disciples had thought they’d found a measure of peace when they fell asleep in the garden; that peace was shattered and lost at the first sign of the trouble driving in on them. Jesus’ source of peace was his reliance on the Holy Spirit and while his presence certainly seemed far away Jesus’ demeanor demonstrates that the Spirit had never left him.
That same peace can be yours. The Holy Spirit is promised to each of us who will accept him. Peace isn’t found in a place, or a possession, or a state of mind. Peace is found in a relationship, a connection, with Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
O Jesus, give me your Holy Spirit. Fill me with his presence. Remind me of all the things you’ve tried to teach me and help he to find the peace that you’ve promised to me.