Author: Bruce Wong, Pastor, Cumberland Peninsula Community Church, Millbrae
28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” 29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” 31 “You believe at last!” Jesus answered. 32 “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “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 16:28-33, NIV)
I think the disciples were in a fog for most of their time with Jesus. They often misunderstood Him, they jostled with each other for the best place in the Kingdom, they wanted to rain judgment on the Samaritans, they were not able to heal because of their lack of faith, they were fearful of the storms, and the list goes on and on. Finally, in this passage, the light went on in their heads. They proudly announced, “Now you are speaking clearly ... Now we can see ... This makes us believe ... ” But Jesus did not want them to become complacent or self-confident in their new understanding. A stable life is not a static life. After all, life is not constant; it is full of changes. A great today does not always mean a great tomorrow. Jesus warned them that they would be scattered and their faith would be shattered (they would desert Him).
But along with those two warnings, Jesus gave them two assurances. The first was that He knew everything that was going to happen. There are no surprises with God. And if there are no surprises with Him, then there should be no surprises with us. We can rest in the assurance that we are never outside of God’s watchful eye or the reach of His loving hand.
The second assurance is that although we will have trouble in this world, He has overcome the world. The God who created everything from vastness of our universe to the intricacies of our bodies remains powerful enough to overcome both our opponents and our failures. So if we can rest in His foreknowledge and in His strength, we can have peace. We can have His perspective, His presence, and His power to see us through everything in life.
The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior