“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
The passage above has long been a favorite of mine, especially in times where life has seemed to swallow up the hopes that I had been holding onto. In a challenging time in our family a few years ago, this was one of the passages that kept us close to the Savior... one of the reminders of the faithfulness of God as we wrestled to make sense of our circumstances, the new reality and the path forward.
In the Bible, the book of John was written by the youngest of the Apostles when he was an old man. It is in his account of the events that led to Easter that we have the most intense, behind the scenes look at the night that Christians call "Maundy Thursday". This is the night that Jesus met with his disciples to give them final instructions and encouragements, he foretold to them what would happen to him and what they would experience. It is the night that Jesus instituted what we now call "The Lord's Supper", a means of grace that continues to pour out the healing of our hearts and the strengthening of our faith. It is a night that Jesus:
Washes the feet of his disciples (and encourages them to be the servant of all)
- Teaches them to remain connected to God (He is the Vine, we are the branches)
- Promises the Holy Spirit
- Shows them how relationship with God is accomplished (Through Jesus alone)
- Predicts his betrayal by one of their own and the denial of his most vocal supporter
And it is here, that Jesus speaks of deep grief that will come to the disciples... and then promises that their grief will turn to joy. He finishes this night of intimate teaching and loving of his disciples by telling them WHY he has said this, and he says it to you and me. That in a relationship with Jesus Christ, made possible by his payment for our sin and his power over death, you and I can have peace even in the seasons of life that are filled with such deep trouble. Peace that the world cannot give, because there is one who is greater - Jesus, who has overcome the world.