“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.”
We have noted several times that during the Last Supper, Jesus taught the disciples about the coming of the Spirit and His ongoing spiritual presence because He knew they were troubled about His upcoming departure (John 14:1–26). Today’s passage makes our Lord’s motivation explicit, for knowing the fearful state of the disciples, Jesus told them, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (v. 27).
But why were the disciples not to be troubled or afraid? Because Jesus was giving His peace to them. In biblical categories, peace is a state of wholeness rooted in our being in right relation to God. We see this in texts such as Numbers 6:22–27, wherein the priestly Aaronic blessing calls for God’s peace upon God’s people and links that peace to God’s blessing and to His lifting up His countenance upon faithful Israelites. The idea is comprehensive well-being and face-to-face communion with the Creator. What the ancient Israelite priests prayed for, only Christ Himself can give. Paul says that “through our Lord Jesus Christ” we have peace with God because we have been justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). When we trust in Christ alone, His righteousness becomes ours, and we are restored to a right relationship with our Maker (2 Cor. 5:21). The fullness of blessing that results from that restoration will be consummated in the new heaven and earth, but we begin to experience it now. As believers, we have peace in this world—not freedom from all trouble but confidence in every trial, for we know that “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
Having comforted His disciples, Jesus then gave them a slight rebuke for their worries about His ascension. If they loved Him, He said, they would rejoice because He was about to return to His Father, the One greater than Him (John 14:28). This does not mean that the Son is a lesser being than the Father. John Calvin comments, “Christ does not here make a comparison between the Divinity of the Father and his own, nor between his own human nature and the Divine essence of the Father, but rather between his present state and the heavenly glory, to which he would soon afterwards be received.” The Son of God left the greater state of glory to conduct His earthly ministry and was soon to return to that state, moving from humiliation to exaltation. Since the Father never left that exalted state to take on the role of a servant, Jesus could say as the incarnate Suffering Servant that the Father was greater than Him.
Coram DeoLiving before the face of God
Jesus has secured peace between His people and the Father, so we can have peace in this world. It is not that we will not face difficulties but that our difficulties will not crush us, for we know that we are at perfect peace with God. Let the peace Christ gives you grant you confidence this day that He is with you, that He loves you, and that He is working for your good and His glory.