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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
May 18, 2001

I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn't like the peace that this world can give. So don't be worried or afraid.
John 14-27 (CEV*)

I'm leaving you well and whole. That's my parting gift to you. Peace. I don't leave you the way you're used to being left - feeling abandoned, bereft. So don't be upset. Don't be distraught.
John 14-27 (The Message*)

I don't usually give you two translations of the same passage, but in this case the different treatments bring so much more to the passage together than either translation by itself.

The first translation, which is quite similar to many other translations, focuses on the term "peace" and its different possible meanings. It acknowledges that the world can give a type of peace, but asserts that the peace of Christ is a unique peace that is quite different.

The peace that the world can give is dependent upon circumstances. It can be disrupted when circumstances change. Things can happen in your life which take away this peace. Therefore, it does not free you from worry and fear. You know you can lose this peace.

Christ gives a peace that transcends circumstances. This peace provides a security that continues even when worldly security is gone. It is something inner that goes so much deeper than worldly peace.

Eugene Peterson, in his The Message translation, focuses on aspects of the meaning of Christ's peace rather than on the term, and contrasts that with the way the world can leave you. At first glance, one wonders about being "well and whole" as a gift to us. We know we may face illness, injury, traumatic circumstances, etc. We can't be sure of being "well and whole" in the world's understanding of that. But Christ's peace means that we are "well and whole" at the core of our being despite the things we face. We don't feel abandoned and bereft regardless of our outward circumstances because Christ is living in us, sustaining us. That becomes the central reality of our lives.

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society. The Message ©1993 by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2001 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 11:57:57 EST