Text: John 16: 25-33
Text verse: Joh. 16:33
I have often wondered how it has been possible for believers over the centuries, to continue believing while facing persecution. Where does one get that courage and strength to persevere in faith?
Jesus gives us the answer here.
In the previous pericope, Jesus said that He is the believers’ intercession with the Father (also see vv. 23-24).
We pray in Jesus’ name because we are not worthy to go to the Father on our own. Jesus, through his redemptive work, makes us acceptable before the Father.
The disciples respond to this that they understand and believe, but Jesus points them to the fact that they will soon be chased apart and will leave Jesus alone.
With that, Jesus shows the disciples – and us – that it is not enough to just say that we believe. This faith in Jesus must change our lives. The peace we find in Him must become visible in the fact that we stand up for what is right.
As believers, we know how difficult it is. When faced with persecution and difficult circumstances, we too want to run away like the disciples. That illness may make you rebellious, or the fact that you are losing your job makes you question your faith. Maybe you’re struggling with self-control. Like Peter, you also strike at the enemy with a sword (John 18:10) instead of trusting God for the outcome.
Jesus’ purpose with these words is to encourage His disciples so that they may find peace in Him (also see v. 33). They must be convinced of Jesus and the Father’s love for them. It is that love that gives the believer peace.
As tribulations come our way, we tend to question the Father’s love. Therefore, it is important to realise that we are not going to the Father on our own merit. We pray in Jesus name because He made us acceptable. That is why He also says in verse 33 that He has already conquered the world. In Him we are already conquerors. We must be convinced of that grace, love and victory.
Paul also joins in with this thought when He says: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4: 8-9).
Paul shows us that we need to focus on all of God’s glorious virtues; the result is glorious peace in God.
Peace therefore follows the fact that we focus our thoughts on God’s grace, salvation and love. Therefore, we find peace in Him to stand firm in spite of the difficult circumstances of this world. Brave and ready to fight.
Don’t forget that God loves you most. Despite our hostility towards Him, He came to save us from the power of death in Jesus Christ. The love we find in Him dispels all fear and fills us with great peace!