John 16:1 “ These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.”
Wow, what type of encouragement is that? How does knowing that people will kill me keep me from stumbling? Jesus, couldn’t You just say that, “I’ll be blessed and have no problems, that everything will be better when I’m a Christian.” Tell me that as a follower of Christ, “there will be no pain, no sickness, lots of food and all my desires will be fulfilled.”
These verses do not seem encouraging unless we look at the full context of this chapter. Through this chapter Jesus talks of:
- the Comforter, the Helper, the Holy Spirit coming Vs 7;
- being guided into all truth Vs 13;
- things which the Father has given to Jesus will be given to us Vs 15;
- our sorrow being turned to joy Vs 20;
- answered prayer Vs23.
In case all these benefits still do not seem to encourage us when faced with death, Jesus then closes the chapter by saying that, ”In Me you will have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Vs 33
There will be struggles here on earth, but in Jesus and in the comfort of His Spirit we have a peace that is greater than the pressures of the world, even greater than death. He has overcome the world, and in the next chapters of the Gospel of John, Jesus will also prove that He has also overcome death.
Lord Jesus, when I am anxious about the situations around me, perhaps even fearful of death, that is an indication that I am not fully drawing upon the strength, comfort and peace which You and the Holy Spirit offer to me. Help me to rest more fully in You and the Comforter, Whom You have sent.