“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 does not mince words. He does not shrink back from the reality of hardship. It’s not something to escape, but rather an expectation. Life—even with Christ—will not always be a bowl of cherries. At times, it will be a soup of suffering.
Injustice. Suffering. War. Terrorism. Racial divisions. Persecution. We can expect it all in the “now but not yet” kingdom of God. And Jesus is well aware that suffering and trials can stir up fear, anger, discouragement, despair and grief.
Jesus is not content with these things. He is not settling. He is not saying “it is what it is.” No, Jesus encourages us by directing our attention to both a current and future reality. He says take heart or more accurately “be of good courage/cheer.”
Why do we take courage? We find courage, comfort and hope in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world. The troubles that surround us and the all-too-often “eye for an eye” solutions are not the main problem (Matt. 5:38). The core problem is in the very heart of man. We have a sin issue not a skin color issue.
Jesus has conquered sin and death. While God’s kingdom has not come in full, He is making a renewed people (1 Peter 2:9-10) consisting of every language, tribe and nation (Rev. 7:9) for Himself and through which to display His justice, mercy, love, selflessness and beauty. We take heart and rise up in courage with our confidence in the power of the gospel to transform, heal and cleanse the human heart and bring wisdom and a better way to complex, volatile issues. Continue Reading…