“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33, NIV
I would like to elaborate on the context of this passage. I encourage you to read John 15:18 through 16:33 to gather the full picture. Jesus is prepping his disciples for all that is to come. He is with them, after his resurrection. They are stoked that he is alive and returned to them. What a relief to see your savior, teacher, and friend alive again after watching his brutal death on the cross! But at this time, Jesus had just shared with them how he is going to be leaving them to go to God the father. He is using this news to encourage them in the fact that the Holy Spirit is coming as their advocate. At the same time, Jesus is warning them. Hey friends, it’s going to get dark for a time, there will be difficulties, the world will reject you as it rejected me (which they witnessed in his trial, persecution, and death).
I can just imagine Jesus placing his hand on a disciples’ shoulders stating quietly, “I am leaving and you are grieving over this… I know this is hard for you. But the father has so much more in store for you! The advocate will come so that you will have clear communication with God himself! Take peace in this, in my life, death, and resurrection… Rejoice in my ascension and return to heaven because although we will not be together, you will be with the father more than you ever have before. And in anything, whether that is persecution or difficulty amidst the hatred of the world, you will still have this advocate, the Holy Spirit, who will guide you. Take peace that my death has brought about these events! Take heart, because I defeated death and this leads into so much more life for you…”
What Jesus is saying here is that he is with us, the father is near, and the Holy Spirit is present. The pain he endured allows this to even be a possibility. So take heart. Not because the troubles and struggles will end or be easy to overcome, but because HE IS PRESENT. He is near. He is at work in your life to better glorify his kingdom! Take heart because you do not struggle alone.
When we thank Jesus for the cross we are recognizing what his incredible sacrifice brings to our daily life. Jesus endured everything so that we might be made one with God, so that we might experience his presence through the Holy Spirit. Jesus wants us to take heart in the fact that through any hardship, we have communication with the father.
Take heart. We have the Holy Spirit, we are brought into God’s presence, and Jesus has paved the way for this. His pain brings us the Holy Spirit and that is our hope in any trouble. Despite the pain, rejoice in what we have! Find your heart in everything Jesus has done on your behalf. Take heart because he has overcome.
Jesus, help us to truly recognize your sacrifice… We set aside our own difficulties and struggles, we hand them over to you. We receive from you your everlasting life! You have given us life and for that we are grateful. Be with us. May we focus more on your victory over death than our own current losses. May we take heart in all that your life has brought us. Thank you. Amen.
Devotional written by Heather Christy. Graphic designed by Daniel Christy.