Wednesday, July 25, 2012

John 16:29-33 I'm back!

Been crazy busy and doing little trips filled with hard labor! I’ve been really missing my morning quiet time!!! Today we finish up chapter 16 and then go into chapter 17 to listen in on the amazing prayer of Jesus before His crucifixion. That will be sacred time! But I did not want to miss these last few verses of chapter 16, when Jesus ends the preparation of the disciples for what is ahead. When we left off, the disciples were about to make their declaration of understanding:

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.” 

“You believe at last!” Jesus answered.  “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. (John 16:29-32)

They claim to understand, and yet Jesus knows they will scatter in fear. My sense is that they understand more with their heads, but it hasn’t gripped their hearts yet. It will take the resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit to embolden these men. The statement, “You will leave me all alone,” really speaks to me. Jesus would be abandoned by His closest friends. When we feel far away from God, it is NOT because He has moved! How often do we abandon Him, because we are just too busy to take time for Him. That has been my experience since summer started: so many distractions and being pulled in so many directions! I’ve really missed my time with Him!

Note, however, that He tells them He is NEVER alone, because His Father is with Him. [There was only one point when He would be feeling separated from His Father - when the sin of the world was laid upon Him.] This was another statement that really jumped out at me. I have several friends who seem to be walking their journeys alone (some even in their marriages). And yet, the Father is with them, and He has enabled them to find their joy in Him.

Finally, as Jesus closes this discourse with His disciples, He explains why He has felt it necessary to prepare them:

“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.” (v.33)

The next few days for the disciples would be filled with fear and confusion and even a sense of hopelessness. There would be great trouble and trials in their future, as in ours. This is one of those “promises” of Jesus that people don’t want to claim! We WILL have trouble. But we can take courage and have peace in the midst of all of our trials, because Jesus has overcome the world!

Oh, if we could just grasp that! Yes, we are in the midst of spiritual battles. We have financial worries, serious health problems, marital conflicts, children who are rebellious, and a world in political, social, and economic turmoil. How do we find peace and joy in the midst of all of this? We remember that the end of the story has already been written. Jesus has won the victory and overcome! This should give us courage and peace! God is sovereign, in control, and His Kingdom will come! Hang onto that assurance! It is our great hope!  

1 comment: