29 Then his disciples said, “At last you are speaking plainly and not figuratively. 30 Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.”
31 Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe? 32 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. 33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Do me a favor and re-read verse 33 from the passage above – it’s the last verse. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
I have a love/hate relationship with this verse. Well, not really. I guess I have a wish that only part of it were true. I wish the part about trials and sorrows was a lie.
But we all know it’s not. Jesus was speaking truth in those words. Yes, on earth we will (we do!) have many trials and sorrows. There is no denying that. Some of you are in the middle of some pretty intense trials and sorrows. Others of you could tell stories of your past trials and sorrows. All of us will have times of trials and sorrows in our future, no doubt. Wishing them away is not going to help.
But I really don’t think Jesus’ point in that verse was to state the obvious. Nor do I think his point was to rub it in or even to shrug and say “What are you gonna do? You’re gonna have trials and sorrows so just accept it and get over it.” No, I think his point comes in the words immediately before and immediately after the trials and sorrows part.
First, notice that Jesus said we can have peace in him. In fact, he’s telling us all these things so that we WILL have peace in him. When faced with trials and sorrows we need to find a way to breathe in that peace.
Second, (and this is where I tend to come back to over and over again), he reminds us that while the world will give us many trials and sorrows – he has overcome the world. Think about that. All of our trials and sorrows are worldly based. They all exist because we live in the world – the world that does not have our interest or well-being in mind at all. But Jesus has overcome the world! Jesus has overcome the very source of our trials and sorrows. The trials and sorrows do not win. The trials and sorrows are temporary and temporal. The will not last and they have nothing to do with our ultimate standing with God.
Take heart, have peace, you will have many trials and sorrows in this world – but Jesus has overcome the world.
God remind us this day that our trials and sorrows do not last and that the peace of Christ is available to us. Help us to feel that peace – even this very moment.