It was time to wrap up. The night of celebration was closing. As Jesus looked out over the faces of His companions, He did not see bright, cheery graduates ready to go forward with their calling. Instead, Jesus saw a bunch of men that were sad and confused. After all, Jesus was being celebrated, right? They saw the crowds hailing Him King of the Jews.
Now, they heard their Messiah tell them He was leaving. Jesus was talking about grief and abandonment and then sending a helper. None of this celebration rang with good news, or so they thought. Therefore, Jesus leaves His men with two major promises.
The first promise was that their relationship with God would be personal. Jesus reminded them they always came to Him when they had questions or needs and then He would ask the Father. He told them from now on they could ask the Father themselves. He promised that if they asked in His name, they would receive their answer directly from the Father and their joy would be complete. The days of a middleman were over and the relationship with God, blocked by sin, would be restored.
In response, the disciples acknowledged that they understood that He was from God and that they believed in Him. Then Jesus makes the second promise. Simply put, He promised them they would soon scatter and abandon Him. He assured them, however, that though they were leaving Him alone, He would, in fact, not be alone. The Father would be with Him and soon He would return and be with the Father.
Jesus closed with the truest and most important take away for the men. This thought would carry them in the coming days and years. It was so powerful that it still encourages believers across the globe. “In this world you will have trouble”, Jesus said, “But take heart, I have overcome the world!”
Life will not always make sense. It will not be easy, and our faith will be tested. Like these men, we will wake up on some days both confused and frustrated. On those days, spiritual platitudes will not always raise our spirits, and frankly, they often make matters worse. This final thought from the Lord was never intended to be a refrigerator magnet for the soul. Instead, this was the Lord grieving with His friends. He knew the outcome, but still felt the pain of humanity for His disciples and for Himself.
This last promise is the crux of the matter. In our lives as His chosen, we would love to have it easy and smooth. We would love for God to simply take away the poverty, the sickness, the evil that is mankind. We would love for our worship to be all about the blessings and joys each day brings.
Jesus was clear – life has trouble. Our relationship with the Father no more grants us immunity from life’s trouble than it did Jesus, the Apostles, or any of the hosts that have come before. The great news is that while there will be trouble, we can take heart because Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, has overcome the world!
God Bless You
Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 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.”
31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “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.
33 “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.”