Commentary on John 14:27-31
As Jesus prepares to leave his disciples, he knows that they are fearful and upset and they will be all the more so when they see what people will soon be doing to him.
His farewell, then, includes a gift of peace. ‘Peace!’ (Shalom) is the normal Jewish greeting and farewell and Jesus uses it when he appears to his disciples after the Resurrection. Originally it meant soundness of body but it came to signify perfect happiness and the liberation which the Messiah was expected to bring. This is the very wholeness which is the aim of Jesus’ mission.
But it is not the peace as the ‘world’ understands it. Peace for Jesus is not simply the absence of violence. It is something much more positive, much deeper. Paradoxically, it can exist side by side with times of great turmoil. It is something internal, not external. It comes from an inner sense of security, of a conviction that God is with us and in us and that we are in the right place. It is something which not even the threat of death can take away.
It is something that the going away of Jesus cannot remove. Jesus tells his disciples that, if they really loved him, they should be happy that Jesus is going away to his Father. It is always a sign of love when our first priority is the wellbeing of the other person. He says the Father is greater than he, in the sense that as Father he has a kind of priority and is the ultimate source of all that is, though the Son does share all that with the Father and the Spirit. The full divine glory of the Son in Jesus is also veiled behind his humanity for the time being but after the Cross he will pass into the full glory of the Father.
It is obvious that Jesus’ place is with his Father. His disciples, if they love him, will know that and not get in his way. Of course, as Jesus points out, it is also in the disciples’ own
interest that Jesus go away for only then will the Spirit come down on all of them.
The end is near. “The prince of this world is at hand.” But they are not to worry. The powers of evil are limited in what they can do and all that happens to Jesus is simply a manifestation of his great love for his Father and his desire to follow his Father’s wishes. Because, by undergoing what faces him, Jesus will be communicating to the world the tremendous love of the Father for each one of us.