Two things are brought before us here. The first is the fact of peace, though there may not be earthly blessing and prosperity, like the Jews, but trouble outwardly; the second is that which characterises the peace. “My peace” is what He has Himself, and the extent of it. Being thus characterised, it implies that they had it not while He was with them. They lacked nothing: they had purse and scrip, etc. He could speak peace in the forgiveness of sins; but this peace, His peace, was not before given to the disciples.
Peace shuts out trouble, as to the realisation of it. It is not peace of conscience with God here, but that which could not be disturbed by the knowledge of God. It is not peace without God, and it is independent of all circumstances. So much trouble as there is in circumstances, the peace could not be secure, if it could be altered by them.
This peace is the possession of such quiet as to be undisturbed about other things. It is peace with God in the sight of His righteousness and His holiness; and it is an absorbing thing. Suppose I am at peace with some one I do not care much about, I may be troubled enough about other things. The peace does not absorb my affections. When we have the peace itself, we may acquaint ourselves with God. The soul, so satisfied with its own peace, desires nothing else. It knows God, and finds nothing- to disturb it in God or out of God. This peace will keep God between the trouble and us, instead of the trouble coming between us and God. Such is our danger, and such the remedy.
Mark the extent of the peace— “My peace”; and how thoroughly well He knew what He had, that He could give it them! He had been tried, rejected, had suffered; “he had not where to lay his head,” “hunted like a partridge on the mountains,” “the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief”; and yet He knew so well the blessedness He had that He could speak of it to leave it to them. There was an unclouded rest in God, and God an unclouded source of blessing to Him, in all His path of sorrow and trouble, so unlike that which any one else ever had. But “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee,” etc., was known experimentally by Him; and was there ever uncertainty as to whether His Father heard Him? No; there was an unclouded certainty. Nothing could bring it into question. He need not put it to the test by throwing Himself down from the temple; this were tempting God.
The two expressions in the verse explain each other; “peace,” “My peace,” etc. “Let not your heart be troubled.” I am giving you my own “peace.” What we have, we know to be His; not the knowledge of what we are with God, but what He is to God. We cannot have peace if we have the thought, When I come to know God, what will He think of me? I must know God in order to have peace.
If the Lord came this moment, would you have peace and be able to say, “This is our God, we have waited for him?” If you have the consciousness of liking anything that God does not like, you cannot be at peace. Even if you have found peace of conscience about your sins, through the blood of the cross, it will destroy your communion and peace of heart, if you like anything that God does not like. If there is anything not given up in the will, there cannot be peace: if you have peace, then if God came in, your peace would stay.
Peace is never imperfect: there can be no flaw in it. If anything comes in and produces an uncertainty, it cannot be peace. Water in a dirty pool may look clear at the surface, but, if it is stirred up, the dirt comes to the surface; and so with the heart. Christ gives us His peace; and can wrath disturb it? Did He not know the wrath due to our sin? He bore the wrath. Did He not know the sin? “He was made sin,” etc. Did He not know God? He came forth from Him.
How can we have peace? Because He has made it “by the blood of his cross.” He has expiated sin. The question that agitates your heart, He settled between Himself and God, not on His own account, but for us. He was the Son of God. In the presence of wrath He settled it; in the presence of holiness, too, He made His soul an offering for sin. God spent His Son for us; and can He fail to claim us as the objects of His love? He has bought us at an unspeakable price.
He has seen the sin, judged the sin, put the sin away in Christ. Peace is made, peace is given, peace is known by the “blood of the cross.” Is it a thought of mine about my getting this peace? No. He says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you.” He knows what God’s wrath is; what God’s righteousness is; what God’s holiness is; what all His requirements are; and we have the assurance of His peace from His own mouth. Have I earned it? No; He has earned it. Can He deceive me? What is my warrant for expecting the favour of God? If you have believed what wrath is, you will value the favour of Christ. Christ would rather give up His life than God’s favour for us.
If Christ is your peace, He is as sinless for you as He was in Himself. He is “made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.”