“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]
Jesus says i have said these things, but what have these things been? in chapters 14 through 16 Jesus has been teaching about his coming death (although they do not understand it), their command to abide in the vine of Christ, the Holy Spirit’s coming after his death and his role, and about the persecution they will face because they are followers of Christ. these things Jesus says that in [him] [they] may have peace.
what exactly is it that’s supposed to give the disciples peace? that Jesus will be with them. even though he is going to die, he will rise from the grave. even though he will ascend, he will send his Spirit to live in them, and the Spirit will allow them to know God so intimately that is it better for them that Jesus ascends! when they face persecution and death, they aren’t facing something Jesus hasn’t already faced—and God faces it with them in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit! the one who has already overcome sin and death and the world will be with them always, and Jesus tells them that so that they may have peace.
is God’s presence with you now a comfort? Romans 8:9 says that anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (that is, to Christ) therefore, every single person who has been saved by the atoning blood of Christ has the Holy Spirit in him or her. if you have believed in Christ as the one risen Lord and asked him to save you from your sins, then God has been with you personally through his Holy Spirit every moment since you were saved! he never leaves his children alone. it is so tempting to run to anything and everything else for comfort, but the God of all comfort (2 corinthians 1) and peace (hebrews 13) is with you—always.
Lord, remind us of the truth that you are always with us. may you be our source of comfort and peace—teach us to depend on you more and more every day. we believe your presence is sufficient; help us in our unbelief!
~ stephen hall