John 14:27 (GW)
27 “I'm leaving you peace. I'm giving you my peace. I don't give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don't be troubled or cowardly.
One of my favorite movies growing up (and is still) is “The Wizard of Oz.” If you haven’t seen this movie (what planet are you from?), Dorothy is transported by means of a tornado to the land of Oz. There she meets three friends who all need something from the Wizard of Oz. One of those friends is a lion. He needs courage. He is known as the Cowardly Lion. Yet, when faced with a great challenge, he rises to the occasion in order to help his friends. When he finally meets the wizard, he is told he already has displayed courage. He only lacks a medal to prove it.
Jesus tells us to not be troubled or cowardly because he has given us His peace. How does peace make us brave? The peace Jesus gives is peace between God and man. In other words, Jesus has removed the hostility between us. God is no longer angry over our sin. It is not that God overlooks our sins. Rather, God has already punished Jesus for our sins. His wrath is appeased. Sins are paid for. We are now at peace with God.
God is not only not our enemy but is actually our Father. As a father protects and provides for his children, so our heavenly Father also protects and provides for us. Romans 8:31 (GW) 31 What can we say about all of this? If God is for us, who can be against us? In other words, there is nothing to fear. What is the worst that people can do to us? Kill us? Jesus has already defeated death. Death cannot hold us. Jesus has already promised us eternal life in heaven. That is what we are looking forward to. Killing us only makes heaven a reality. Therefore, death is no longer feared.
The martyrs understood this. Faced with either death or denying Jesus, they chose death. But in reality, they chose eternal life. As you read the accounts of the martyrs as found in books like Fox’s Book of Martyrs, you can’t help but be impressed how seemingly brave these people were. But maybe it wasn’t so much bravery as being at peace. Jesus left us His peace, peace between us and God. That peace is so great that nothing else can rob us of it. That peace still stands today.
Peace treaties here on earth don’t last. They are always being broken. But the peace that Jesus brings between us and God can’t be broken. Why? Because God is the initiator and the finisher of the peace. He calls for peace, sets the terms of peace, and makes sure the terms are met. God is the only One who can break the peace treaty. But in order for Him to do that, He would have to stop being God. This is a peace that lasts.
Philippians 4:7 (KJV) 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.