This is not a promise that is declared very often!! But that is what Jesus said; if they persecute me they will also persecute you.
Even with that verse in mind it is difficult for me to follow the news events of today without a deep sadness and even desperation settling over my soul—hideous worldwide persecutions of Christians, mocking and bullying of Judeo-Christian morality, gender confusion even snaring children.
Yes, a confusing and sad time for the church, for America, for the world. I have had to wrestle with how to handle events and my stirred-up emotions.
More than ever, we live in a time when we must have a rock-solid firm foundation of faith and truth to stand on: know what you believe and why.
I believe that God is both a
- Great God! a great and mighty God who created and sustains the universe.
- Personal God! an intensely personal and present God who is intimately acquainted with all I do and say.
I am not alone, my Father is with me. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:32-33
The impact of these words of Jesus blows me away when I consider them in context. Jesus spoke these words at the conclusion of His last passover meal with His disciples. John records in detail the conservation and events of this meal. First Jesus washes the disciples feet (even Judas). He then predicts His betrayal and Peter’s denial. He comforts his disciples saying He is going to prepare a place for them. Jesus tells them that it is better that he go, so that He can send the Holy Spirit, the comforter. He reminds them to abide always in Him–like branches on a vine (but expect some pruning as well!). What an evening! Jesus knows this is His last night with these friends, and He has so much He wants them to know.
Jesus concludes these farewell discourses with an amazing declaration . . . on the eve of His crucifixion! Victory! I have overcome the world. This was an amazing statement from a man who knew he was about to be arrested, forsaken, (abandoned), rejected, mocked, tortured and executed.” (David Guzik, enduringword.com).
I am not alone, my Father is with me.
Jesus declares that he does not face the agonizing torture of crucifixion and death alone–He knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that His Father is with Him. That is why He tells His friends to take courage when they encounter tribulations. Jesus knows that just like Him, they will never have to face it alone. And neither will we!
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.
Jesus has just told the disciples that the secret of their life would be abiding in Him and that He and the Father would abide in them. It was all about relationship–close, intimate, loving relationship. I learned a long time ago that I cannot live the Christian life without the abiding Christ living in me! And it is the abiding, never-leaving, presence of Jesus that gives true peace–peace that the world does not know and cannot take away. “Jesus knew that He would be arrested, forsaken, rejected, mocked, humiliated, tortured and executed before the next day was over, . . . yet Jesus had peace, and enough to give to others.” (David Guzik, enduringword.com)
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage;
Jesus knew that He was leaving the disciples in the world, for now. They needed to know that if the world hated Him it would also hate them. He knew even the strongest, Peter (the Rock), would deny Him–three times! The world He was leaving them in would be scary and painful. It is with a touch of sadness, I believe, that Jesus reassuring tells them to take heart, take courage, be courageous, cheer up! But this was not a cheer up or give it your best shot message–Jesus knew that His victory would be theirs because just as the Father was with Him, so the triune God would be with them–and with us no matter what difficulties we face.
I have overcome the world.
Jesus says, “I have overcome the world.” (the devil and death!). The word used for “I” is strongly emphatic! “I myself”, it is accomplished already! The battle is won! I have gotten the victory! “He does not say: Be comforted, you have overcome the word, but . . . I, I have overcome the world; my victory is your salvation. (And upon His victory) rests the imperishability of the church.” Martin Luther (biblehub.com).
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Peace (eirene): quietness, peace, rest. Peace is found in Christ alone.
Tribulation: (thlipsis): pressure, affliction, anguish, persecution, tribulation, trouble, torment, oppression, distress—all pretty bad stuff!
I (ego): a primary pronoun of the first person “I” (only expressed when emphatic): I, me.
Overcome (nikao): subdue, conquer, overcome, prevail, get the victory, come away victorious.
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“In our darkest hours of torture, the Son of Man came to us making the prison walls shine like diamonds and filling the cell with light. Somewhere, far away, were the torturers below us in the sphere of the body. But the spirit rejoiced in the Lord. We would not have given up this joy for that of kingly palaces.” Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ.
May we all know the same abiding presence of Jesus in the midst of our struggles and troubles. May we be able to say, like Corrie Ten Boon did, “Don’t struggle, just snuggle”, in the arms of our loving God who is always with so that we are never along, who promises us His peace. May we be comforted and face difficulties with faith-filled courage because we know that the ultimate victory is ours.