“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
These words were said by Jesus to his disciples to prepare them for what was to come. He was going to be arrested and crucified. This was going to be very difficult for them, and Jesus wanted them to know peace in spite of the difficulty. We, too, need to know the peace Jesus brings us in the face of difficulty. These words can be a comfort to us. Here are a few things to meditate on to give us hope in this troubled time.
- Peace is in Christ – Jesus doesn’t tell us to find our peace in health, wealth, or possessions. Notice that he says, “that in me you may have peace.” What does it mean to have peace in Christ? Our peace is tied into what we believe. What do you believe about Jesus? Do you believe that he is the Son of God who came to the earth in human form to live a perfect life for you? Do you believe his death on the cross was the perfect payment made in your place for the sins you’ve committed against a holy God? Do you believe God accepted this payment, and that Jesus rose from the dead? Do you believe Jesus is who he says he is? If so, then you are a follower of Christ and are in Christ. There is where the peace is! You know that this life is temporary and eternity awaits you. You can have peace knowing that the Holy Spirit walks through these difficult days with you. The internal is at peace when the external is in chaos.
- Tribulation in this world – Jesus always tells the truth. He tells us that we will have trouble in this world. Sometimes it’s trouble with a capital “T.” We all face troubles in our lives, whether it be with our families, friends, neighborhoods, health, finances, or, at this time, the whole world. The warning Jesus gives about trouble is to prepare us to face it. He wants us to face it by exercising peace in him. We can’t change the mandates that are being given to us all at this time, but we can certainly follow them in peace. Our peace comes from the fact that our God is bigger. We don’t have to complain or argue, but we do have to trust him as we walk through it.
- Take heart – Jesus tells us to “take heart.” This is an interesting phrase and we need to know what it means. The literal meaning from Strong’s Concordance is to “have courage, to be of good cheer, take comfort.” This definition certainly does shed a little light on this, doesn’t it? We must have courage in the face of troubles. It’s not always easy to be courageous. When the word courage is mentioned, we think of battlefields or great rescues of people. In our current situation with the COVID-19 virus, we can also think of courage as being willing to trust God and persevere in the trouble. Having the courage to homeschool your children, share your food, shop for the elderly, live meagerly, and encourage, encourage, encourage others who may be struggling with some fears. Notice that the word courage is part of the word encourage. You are helping others to have the courage to get through this with your encouragement.
- Jesus has overcome the world – These words are so comforting to us, especially now. There is victory in these words! Victory over the world system, which is against God. Victory over all the troubles we’ll face in this world. We can raise our hands in victory because of what Christ has completed on the cross for us. This was victory over Satan and all he can throw at us. More importantly, it was victory over sin. We, as followers of Christ, are no longer ruled by our sinful nature. We are now free to live our lives in Christ without being in bondage to sin. We are free to rejoice in Christ and what he has accomplished for us, regardless of the restrictions of the world around us. We are free to follow the restrictions as we think of others and trust in Christ.
As we meditate on these things, the fears of this world dissipate in the light of Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Let’s focus on him today and all he’s accomplished for us, that we may live an abundant life.
“…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd.” John 10:10b-11a