The Peace of Christ

The gospel reading this Sunday picks up in the middle of what is known as “The Farewell Discourse.” John chapters 13-17 follows Jesus and the disciples through the Passover meal and foot-washing, Judas’ departure to betray Jesus and Jesus prediction that Peter will deny him, familiar teachings about Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life, the promise of the Holy Spirit, Jesus as the true vine, and, finally, Jesus’ prayer for the disciples.

When you consider the setting (Jesus on the eve of his crucifixion), Jesus’ comforting, encouraging words that we’ll read in worship this Sunday (John 14:23-29) are especially poignant. He’s not just looking ahead to a distant future when he won’t be around, he, with all the weight of his own death bearing down on him, recognizes the disciples’ immediately confusion and grief and reassures them that they won’t be left alone, then gives them his peace.

Jesus’ peace is unlike the world’s peace. It’s neither fleeting, nor a form of escape. Jesus’ peace is what makes the grief of his death and his future departure manageable. It’s what makes the other griefs of our lives tolerable. It’s that assurance that whatever is happening to us or because of us, it is never just us and it’s never more powerful than the Kingdom of God, to which we already belong.