2022 Lent Devotional – Day 40
Victory of Christ
“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)
Jesus is bringing his discourse with His disciples to a close and says that He has told them these things so that ultimately, they will have peace in Him.
Earlier in the 15th Chapter, we find that Jesus tells His disciples that He was speaking to bring them joy: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11), while in the 16th Chapter we see that He warns His disciples against stumbling: “All this I have told you so that you will not fall away” (John 16:1) and “I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.” (John 16:4)
Here at the end of the discourse, Jesus brings together both caution and assurance. Hope and assurance would have the last word.
As followers of Christ, we find ourselves both in the realms of trouble and in that of peace. Jesus makes it plain that His followers will face trouble. This trouble can be interpreted as trouble in general i.e., sickness, suffering and ultimately death and as persecution on behalf and account of Christ. We are not immune to suffering.
Christians must know that we cannot live under the false premise that the successful or even normal Christian life is trouble free. Especially as suffering and persecution are daily realities for Christians the world over.
But Jesus promises that in contrast to the suffering and persecution of the world, IN HIM, His disciples will have peace. He warns us of suffering but promises us triumph at the same time.
We overcome trouble and evil through faithful obedience and by putting our trust in the victory of Jesus Christ. (1 John 5:4–5). Perseverance is a key factor in this, sometimes even to the point of martyrdom.
And we can persevere because of the triumph of Jesus for He has indeed conquered the world just as he has defeated the ruler of this world. His death has made the opposition of the world puny and futile because the key battle has been fought and won.
So, the world may continue its attacks, but we can rest and be peaceful, even though our circumstances might point otherwise, because we share the victory of Christ and know how the story ends: in our triumph IN Christ. From this fact we derive strength and share the peace of Christ.
Rev. Vijayesh Lal