Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not be afraid. (NIV).
There are many definitions and interpretations of the word peace, ranging from the absence of war and freedom from disagreements or quarrels to inner calm, serenity or tranquillity. However the word for peace in the biblical sense is shalom and has a far deeper meaning, encompassing well-being, harmony, contentment and signifying completeness.
Here Jesus is preparing his disciples for the events which are shortly to follow and for his departure from them (John chapters 14-17). He explains to them that they will experience trials and tribulations, but he assures them that he will leave them the true/complete peace that only he can offer. Therefore, with his peace they do not need to let their hearts be troubled and they do not need to succumb to fear and be afraid. The peace that the world gives is often transitory and non-sustaining whereas his peace, in contrast, will be long lasting and sustaining.
Sit in an upright position and close your eyes. Take a deep breath in, hold it briefly and then breathe out slowly. Do this five times and gradually let go of all the distracting things on your mind and enter into a place of stillness.
As you read the words ‘troubled’ and ‘afraid’ what thoughts or images or feelings come into your mind?
As we journey through life there are times and seasons when we experience trouble and we can feel afraid. Sometimes this arises from our own actions and responses and sometimes it is not of our own making, but it impacts us. At such times, we can feel overwhelmed by the events and circumstances and they can either propel us into a closer walk with God or we can struggle and endeavour to cope on our own.
Listen to what Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe in him. It is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honour at God’s right hand in heaven. (Eph.1:19&20)
In the silence imagine that Jesus is standing in front of you.
This is an opportunity for you to share with him anything in your life which is currently troubling you or which causes you to be afraid.
What does he say to you? Imagine him placing his hand on your head and praying his resurrection life into those areas that you have shared with him.
Now listen to his words of encouragement: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Do not be afraid. (NIV).