“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
Peace. It’s something we all crave in one way or another. Peace in a troubled relationship. Peace and quiet. Political or social peace. Inner peace. There are many different shapes and forms of this sometimes-illusive word…peace. What is peace, really? It’s one of those words that culture has overused – or misused – to the point that it has lost it’s meaning.
In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.” The meaning of peace here as it relates to Christianity is: “The tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, whatever it may be.” Wow…now that’s what I call peace! A soul so assured of its salvation that it can rest in the goodness of Christ, completely trusting Him regardless of life’s circumstances.
Understanding the context of this verse deepens the beauty of it for our lives today. Jesus spoke these words to His disciples right after He explained to them that He was going to leave and return to heaven. He assured them of the Father’s love for them, even as He warned them of the difficult times that were ahead for them. The peace He promised wasn’t the absence of conflict or trouble. Instead, it was the steadfast love and presence of the Father throughout the coming conflict and trouble.
“Yes, there will be trouble,” Jesus assured. “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” These words are as true for us today as they were for those original 12 disciples 2,000 years ago. As followers of Jesus, we will face trouble, just like everyone else. But we can take heart instead of losing heart. We can have hope despite disappointment. We can rejoice in our suffering. Why? Because the One we worship has overcome the world! He has overcome anything and everything that could have separated us from the Father. Now, there is only grace.
Notice that Jesus did not say, “In Me you will have peace.” He said, “In Me you may have peace.” Christ has done everything necessary for us to have peace despite our circumstances; but it is our choice whether or not we will believe Him and walk in that truth.
Dear Father, you know how much my heart is craving peace. And you also know how I am constantly tempted to find peace in my circumstances. Please remind me that true peace is only found in you and is available to me at all times. In Jesus' name, amen.