Understanding and Peace

We’re almost there. At the end of conversation and questions, ready to hear the most beautiful prayer in all of scripture. Yet, there are still a few more words between Jesus and his disciples in this sixteenth chapter of John. Jesus had just told them about how their prayers would change post-resurrection, and once again, he tells them he is leaving:

“I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

“Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 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 16:27-33 (NIV)

“Now we get it!” Finally, it seemed the disciples understood what Jesus meant by having to leave them. It sure took them long enough, right? I have to laugh when they add, “now we see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions.” Did Jesus ever need anyone to ask him questions? Who asked the most, anyway? These guys who suddenly got it and believed.

Jesus must have had fun ribbing them with an “oh, you finally believe?” How many years had they been with him? What a patient God we serve. Then I’m reminded he’s making sure all this gets on record for some other “disciples” to come…whose faith may be pretty shaky at times too.

Even so, Jesus knows that this great faith they now have would go out the window in just a few hours, when soldiers arrest him on false pretenses. He was at peace with that, because he knew what they would one day come to know too — he was not alone; the Father was with him.

He said as much with the last verse in our beautiful chapter. “I have told you these things…” He said all he said, taught all he taught, so they would, under the power of the Holy Spirit, have peace in him. His words would all be proven true in the sacrifice to come and be made available in the resurrection and ascension closely thereafter. In that moment, they would know peace, because he would be made known in their hearts and minds by the filling of the Holy Spirit. What they had known in part, they would then know in full.

Doesn’t mean their life would be easy. Nope, not for them, not for us; for this old world is full of trouble. Still, though trouble was a guarantee, so too was the victory that was made sure in his act of obedience to the Father on our behalf.

Reading or hearing the words of Jesus doesn’t guarantee peace. It is only as we believe in him as Savior that we gain the understanding of these words through the power of the Spirit and have peace. Without the knowledge that Christ has overcome the world, we can’t know peace in a world of evil and strife. Knowing that Christ has overcome the world is the only thing that allows us to live in peace in the midst of trouble.

Do you now believe?

Grace and Peace

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