At the end of His earthly life Christ spoke of His leaving a legacy to many millions of people in the history of the world. It was of infinitely greater value than anything that could be given by this present world. Here is what he gives.
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.
And our subject is ‘the greatest imaginable legacy’ and this text is about a legacy. The legacy of Christ to his disciples. What did he leave? The legacy of Christ to his disciples of all generations of all ages in the world until the end comes – all who are his disciples. ‘Peace I leave with you.’
Well, many in this congregation will have received or may receive a legacy. And many no legacy. And a legacy is a wonderful thing especially if the one who gives it was wealthy and had substance. Is fortunate indeed if someone is left a property, a large house. Someone is left everything they could conceivably need for the rest for the remainder of their lives. A legacy is something left.
What is this? Christ, though he was the eternal Son of God, the second member of the triune godhead, incarnate, come into this world. Yet he lived as a poor man – he lived without property, he did not amass a fortune. Just think what he might have done had he been inclined to. He possessed all power: he could do anything. We know he carried out thousands upon thousands of astonishing compassionate healings – he could have just charged something for them and it would have amounted to a fortune and people might have gladly paid, but that was not his purpose. He lives therefore as a poor man. So what was his legacy? He tells us here.
‘Peace I leave with you.’ Well what is that? Peace – it sounds like a mere religious platitude of some kind. Well, you may be interested to know that the word ‘peace’ in the Greek comes from the verb to join. So what is being left is being set at one or joined. It isn’t just peace meaning serenity, tranquility, stillness, calm. The peace that Christ left is the
capacity to be joined and at one with God. In other words, in a single word he left the possibility of reconciliation. Reconciliation is my legacy, he said, reconciliation I leave with you my disciples. It will be yours after my death – you will possess it. Reconciliation with God is the greatest imaginable legacy.