In John 14–16, Jesus sets the stage for his departure. His leaving is not loss but gain. It is good because it will inaugurate a transformative experience of the Spirit. It is good because it will initiate a transformative experience of life and hope. This life is one of love; the hope is that there will be peace.
As Jesus puts it in 14:25, the promised Spirit will “teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” In the next verse, he emphasizes the element of peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
We cannot just stop at these verses and then pursue these themes with our own tactics and strategies, as if Jesus left us with a set of vague goals, as if the gospel were just a set of statements with which to agree. The gospel is not just a set of doctrines; it is a way of being, an orientation in life. These verses on the Spirit and peace are intentionally connected and part of the promise of Jesus to the people of God, the new promise of the arriving kingdom.
The peacemaking Spirit passes the peace to us and we pass this peace to those around us. The gospel is an invitation to peace. We are to be peacemakers.
This peace has three movements, each interconnected and mutually informing. First, we experience peace from God, next, we experience peace with our own self, and then we can pass this peace to others.
Read more about each of these movements and the overall work of the Spirit in orienting us toward peace in my article “Passing the Peace: A Pneumatology of Shalom” in the Fall issue of Fuller Magazine, and recently posted online.