One time when Jesus was on a boat with His disciples a storm broke loose and the waves crashed into the boat and it started to flood with water. The disciples found Jesus peacefully sleeping in the stern of the boat, and fearing for the their lives they woke Him up. Jesus arose and said with boldness, “Peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39). Then there was a calm.
Most of us have not been in a storm like this, but perhaps you can relate when it comes to the storms of life. The crashing waves of hardship beat against us and we are filled with feelings of fear, despair, uncertainty, and anxiety. Sadly, people try all sorts of methods and means to obtain peace. The problem is that the peace of the world is shallow, selfish, strained and short-lived and this is why we must never put confidence in the world’s peace.
People go around saying kind things to others, but many times the words really have a superficial meaning. When it comes to lining up at a shop to purchase something, the question “How are you?” often isn’t asked with the intention of hearing the answer. Many people go around saying peaceful and kind words to others, however, either behind their back to other people or harbored internally is anger and slander. Shallow peace is also often seen in political peace. Leaders from two opposing governments or nations might be seen in many photographs shaking hands, but many a time the complete opposite is the reality. When I was a primary school teacher it was not an uncommon sight to see two fighting students being told to shake hands and make peace. Despite the words of peace they spoke to each other as they apologized, their faces certainly didn’t look very peaceful!
Many offer a peace but it is only given on purely selfish terms. People boast of being peacemakers or peaceful people, but when you look carefully they only have peace with those who are peaceable in their view or with those most like them. That is not real peace – it is selfishness! This kind of selfish peace bypasses people based on race, personality and appearance.
Others go around trying to bring about peace by the use of force. There are religious groups who believe they are “religions of peace”; but the way they strive to bring this peace about is by forcing people to submit to their ways, otherwise they kill anyone who opposes them. Regardless of what is considered politically correct, such religious groups are not bringing in true peace.
The final reason why we should not put our confidence in the peace of the world is because it is always short-lived. Many have promised peace but no one has delivered permanent peace. In the future there will come one who promises the world peace, but he will be proven to be a liar and a tool of Satan. The peace the world offers is always short-lived, and therefore we are not to put our confidence in it.
Now contrast that with the provision of peace Jesus offers,
“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” (John 14:27)
As Jesus is leaving, notice that He didn’t promise to leave His disciple’s money, property or popularity. Instead, He promised them His peace. The source of this peace is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27a). This is no surprise because Jesus Himself is called the “Prince of peace” (Is. 9:6). This peace characterizes Christ and proceeds from Him making it perfect peace. What is it? It refers to the blessed relationship we have with God, which is a relationship in which He is for us and not against us. This provision of peace is different from the world’s peace. Jesus said, “Not as the world gives do I give to you” (14:27b). Because the peace of Christ is perfect, Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (14:27c). Just as Jesus demonstrated control over the wind and sea in the presence of His disciples, He wanted them to know that He is giving them His peace so that they would not be troubled or afraid.