Reflections on Peace David Cornelius
“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”. — John 14:27 (ESV)
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. — Matthew 10:34 (ESV)
Entering this season in which we celebrate the coming of Christ (The Prince of Peace) into the world, our minds turn to PEACE. Peace speaks of a state of quietness and tranquility. Often, the word “peace” describes the cessation or absence of war and violence. These descriptions of peace usually point to an external environment. Yet, peace is more than freedom from disturbance. It’s most important aspect is internal. An external peace cannot prevail unless the people living in an environment have internal peace. The reason for this is that we are all selfish (We want to have our way.) The United Nations and many other such groups—even most countries—seek an external peace without giving much attention to peace in the inner person.
Some years ago, I lived in a country where the population was made up of large numbers of people who were followers of Christ, with an almost equal number of people who were not followers of Christ. As I interacted with the people there, one thing that people in both groups agreed on was that they wanted peace. Yet, despite governmental laws and regulations, true peace never came—even to this very day. Why is this true? The passages printed above, give insight into the answer.
The passages may appear to be contradictory. However, interpreted in context, the apparent contradiction disappears. Jesus is speaking to His followers in both cases. As He prepares to go back to The Father, He gives HIS (inner) PEACE to His followers, not the world’s (external) peace. In fact, He told His followers that He didn’t come to bring the world peace, but the sword. Only when we have “The Prince of Peace” living in us, can we experience true peace: inner peace. Only when all “Peoples” experience this inner peace, will the world experience real and lasting external PEACE.