The Benediction of Peace
John 14: 27
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
“Peace I leave with you,” said Jesus, not long before he was arrested, tried, and nailed to the Cross. Soon after, the risen Jesus came to these same disciples and said again, “Peace be with you”.
The Hebrew word for peace - shalom - means fullness, wholeness. So often when Jesus brought healing to people, he said to them with love and assurance, “Your sins are forgiven.” In other words, “be at peace, you have nothing to fear.”
Peace comes by realising that we are forgiven. Peace comes by knowing that we do not have to carry burdens of guilt or disappointment or anger through life, for God in Jesus Christ offers to make all things new. By accepting Christ’s gift of peace, we can face the world with calmness, serenity, confidence, and faith. We know that, as the Cross led to the Resurrection, whatever happens in our lives will work out for good in the wider picture.
This reminds me of the story of the young minister who was talking to an elderly and wise member of his congregation. They spoke about what worship meant to her and what made it worthwhile and fulfilling. As the conversation went on she said, ”You know, I really just come to hear the benediction at the end of the service. Anything else is a bonus, that is all I really need.”
“Peace I leave with you,” says Jesus. That was his benediction, his blessing, on those first disciples, and that is his benediction on us each new day. It is with this peace, this joy, this hope, that Jesus sends us out into the world to be his messengers of love to our neighbour in the world.
Give me a deeper appreciation of your abiding presence within me.
Lead me by your Spirit to know you more fully.
Inspire me by your Spirit to do your work more joyfully.
Enlighten me by your Spirit to guide the decisions I face each day.
Thank you, Lord, for your gift of peace.
In the name of Jesus Christ.