“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus was wrapping up a long teaching (started in chapter 13) before his amazing prayer for the disciples and the Church in general. It was only hours before he would be arrested, abandoned, mocked, beaten, tortured, and crucified. Rather than receiving comfort, he offered it. Rather than telling the disciples they would be just fine, he promised them tribulation. Rather than telling them about a struggle, he told them about a victory.
I am writing today’s devotional in the midst of great trouble in our nation. The political climate is remarkably toxic…and dangerous. Covid-19 is still on the rise (I’m getting over it myself). Shutdowns, lockdowns, and digital censorship have become the norm. Some churches have opened their doors while others choose to remain shuttered. America is in a not-so-peaceful transition of power and communist China is flexing its muscle across the globe. Our country is drowning in debt, as is most of the world. The picture is dark…bleak…and depressing.
“…in me you may have peace.”
Have you taken Jesus up on his offer of peace? First, He made a way to peace with God: Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1). He also made the way to peace with others: For Jesus is our peace, who has made the both one, and broken down the middle wall of division between us (Ephesians 2:14). Scottish Minister Alexander Maclaren noted that Jesus, “…promises a peace which co-exists with tribulation and disturbances, a peace which is realized in and through conflict and struggle.” The peace Jesus offers us is not tied to our circumstances, but rather, it is anchored to who He is and what He has done.
“In the world you will have tribulation.”
This should be fairly obvious, by now. It is important to note that Jesus was not referring to the general troubles of the world based on sin, but to the tribulation that His disciples would face for their faithfulness. The world rejects them because they testify to The Truth. It mocks them for clinging to The Word. It chastises them for boldly proclaiming The Good News. It silences them for refusing to back down. When you stand and speak and live for the things of God, the world will not sit idly by. It will seek to silence you. That is a guarantee straight from Jesus.
“But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
He overcame the world when he died for its sin. He overcame the world when he rose from its grave. He overcame the world when he ascended from its earthly grip. He is overcoming the world by the increase of His Church and the resiliency of His Word. He will overcome the world for the final time by the establishment of His Kingdom on earth. And because He is in you, you are a divine partaker in every one of Jesus’ victories. In Him, we are overcoming the world, too.
Have Peace! Take heart! Amen.