Our Lord speaks of peace throughout the gospels, often in contrast with the peace the world has to offer. For example, in John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.”
There are two kinds of peace we can have in this life: the peace the world offers and the peace only Jesus can give. What’s the difference?
The peace the world offers is a freedom from external conflict based on self-love and comfort. If one would only go along with the flowing tide of modernity, he would have the world’s peace. This peace preaches tolerance, acceptance, and compromise with sin, and brings the sword against a rightly formed conscience.
Jesus offers an entirely different peace that brings freedom from internal conflict and is based on love of God and neighbor. Our Lord preached love, even of the sinner, but brings the sword of truth against false compromise, against acceptance of sin, and against tolerance of an evil status quo. In this sense Jesus states, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
Jesus’ peace is offensive to the world. A false peace based on self-love and compromise cannot coexist with a peace based on integrity with right order and love of neighbor. Thus the hatred of the world for Christ and all who follow Him.
The world called for Christ to come down from the cross, to save Himself, and to compromise His mission. He died for our sins, and that implies a judgment against sin—intolerable in the eyes of the world. He embraced suffering, and that implies a judgment against self-love—again intolerable in the eyes of the world.
Yet, He remained on the cross, embraced it, and asks us to do the same. This is the only path to true and everlasting peace.
As the passion of Our Lord draws nearer, we should take heart in the words Jesus left to his disciples: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Rob Gasper is a senior research analyst for American Life League and is the editor of ALL News.