The presence of God as Father, Son and Spirit in the heart of the believer brings yet another gift, the gift of peace. It is the Lord’s last gift to his disciples just before he departs on his passion, and the very first gift to them on Easter Sunday evening.
“Peace” – shalom – was a common Jewish greeting on meeting and leave-taking. The word had a much deeper meaning, however, as a seal of the covenant. It implied communion and harmony with God. In the Old Testament it came to have a meaning connected with the Endtime, related to messianic times, and is synonymous with salvation. It is this spiritual peace that Christ gives.
Peace is an elusive quality in today’s world. We are besieged by anxiety and nameless fears. The world promises peace but it is a deceptive promise. True peace of heart and absence of anxiety come only to the Lord’s disciples.
And yet, at that paschal supper, there is a foreboding that this is the last time the disciples will see Jesus. It’s a restlessness they all share in, but resist putting into words. Jesus has acknowledged that he is going away, but says that he will come back to them. They cannot make sense of this. He sees his going away as a return to his Father, to someone greater than he. He sees himself as being taken captive by the Prince of this world, the power of evil. But he knows that it is not the triumph of evil but rather the victory of his love for the Father and the Father’s plans for him which is what his passion is.
Christ’s return to the Father with his mission accomplished is the basis of all he has promised his disciples.