Customary greetings and partings in Eastern cultures usually include a word of peace (Ephesians 1:2; Luke 10:5; John 20:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:16). But in John 14:27, as Jesus prepared the disciples for His departure, it was no ordinary “go in peace” farewell that He imparted: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
Rather than a routine, transient, worldly kind of peace, the spiritual peace that Jesus offers to His followers is a permanent gift. The New Living Translation renders John 14:27 like so: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Jesus knew that the earthly journey awaiting His disciples and all future believers would not be easy. Many trials and sorrows lay ahead, so He left them with this assurance: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Shalom, translated as “peace,” is perhaps the most widely known word in the Hebrew language and conveys various meanings in Scripture. “Success,” “prosperity,” “completeness,” “wholeness,” “well-being,” and “welfare” are just some of its uses. In the Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words, we find this explanation: “When shalom is best translated as ‘peace,’ this peace is more than the mere absence of war or strife. It describes a peace that is positive; a time, place, and condition that features love, righteousness, calmness, political and moral uprightness and much more. It is a word reserved for those who walk with God in a positive relationship” (“Peace,” Carpenter, E. E., & Comfort, P. W., Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000, p. 135).
The Greek word for “peace” carries many meanings as well, including the traditional welcome and farewell. It can be used to describe the end of war and conflict, inner tranquility, and calm. But Jesus came to bring a different kind of peace on earth. At His birth, the angels declared, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of this Prince of Peace, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
When the Messiah came, He brought with Him God’s kingdom peace. This same otherworldly peace was Jesus’ parting gift to His disciples. The ultimate endowment of peace was granted to us in God’s gift of salvation purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ through His sacrifice on the cross. By way of Christ’s death, we have been granted access to the throne of God and restored fellowship with our Heavenly Father: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1–2, ESV; see also Isaiah 53:5).
Paul told the Philippians to take their anxious thoughts and worries about this life to God in prayer, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, ESV). By the power of God’s Holy Spirit dwelling inside us, our minds are now governed by God’s peace (Romans 8:6).
Jesus left us with His peace in another sense, as well, that we would become peacemakers for His kingdom (Matthew 5:9; Romans 12:18; 1 Peter 3:10–11) and dwell in harmony with our brother and sisters in Christ: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone” (Hebrews 12:14; see also Colossians 3:15).
God’s peace reflects His divine character, strength, love, goodness, sovereignty, dominion, and power. It emanates from His presence in our lives (Isaiah 26:12; 2 John 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:16). The Lord dispatches His peace to us like a troop of armed forces sent to stand watch over our hearts. Although we cannot fully fathom this peace with our human minds, it is real and obtainable in Christ. Still today, to anyone who believes in Jesus and commits to following Him, He says, “My peace I leave with you.”