“I have said these things to you,

that in me you may have peace.

In the world you will have tribulation.

But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

These words mark the conclusion of Christ’s final sermon to his disciples. John records for us one final high priestly prayer, then Christ turns himself in to be betrayed, arrested, and crucified. Let us consider three things we can hold onto in light of this passage.

The Presence of Christ

Of the many things Jesus taught his disciples in this final sermon, he taught them about his departure. “I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer” (Jn. 16:10). The One who demonstrated his power over the forces of nature and death, who taught them with words of wisdom and authority, who loved them so much, was going away. How could they bear it?

Understandably, they were troubled and sorrowful.

And yet Jesus promised his presence in spite of his physical absence. He goes in order to send the Holy Spirit, who will glorify Christ. In these troubled and sorrowful times, let us remember that Christ is with us, his people. He has not left us alone to face the tribulations of this world, but instead walks with us through the valley.

The Peace of Christ

Where will we have tribulation? “In the world.”

There is no abiding peace to be found in the world. The world is buried with turmoil in the present and uncertainty about what lies ahead. How can it provide solid peace for our weary souls? It can’t. Let’s not try and find it there. Indeed, the world is at enmity with God. As believers, we should expect nothing less than trouble and persecution.

Where may we find peace? “In me.”

True, spiritual peace is found in Christ. Not in our own strivings, our own strength, or even our own religious obedience, but in Christ. His perfect life and his atoning death secures us pardon for sin and everlasting peace with God. His work, not ours. So no matter how much the tribulation of the world may torment us, our peace remains secure. It is a peace that the world can neither give nor take away. As the nations rage and peoples plot, let us take refuge under the shadow of the Cross, knowing that we have an abiding peace in the midst of swirling chaos.

The Power of Christ

Christ has overcome the world. He resisted greater temptation than any of us will face, so that the allurements of the world should no longer entice us. He bore scorn and ridicule as the Man of Sorrows, so that the evils of the world should no longer discourage us. Christ triumphed over the world so that it stands before us as a defeated enemy. What power does a charmer have without her charms? What can a conquered foe do to harm you? Nothing – Christ has disarmed the world. Does the world seek to draw you away with its promises of happiness, prosperity, ‘the good life’? Does it try and trouble you by marginalizing the church and mocking the values it stands for? We don’t have to give in. Take heart, for Christ has overcome the world.

~ Enoch