Longing for Peace, Comfort & Joy – Let it Glow
The key verse that we are studying from last week, (John 16:33) is the end of a long conversation that Jesus has with His disciples about His upcoming death. His final statement before He moves to prayer, is affirming His final victory over the world. Both are important details to how we overcome worry and find peace, comfort and joy, even through our troubles as we live in the world.
The beginning of this section, starting at John 16:16, in the NIV study Bible is titled “The Disciples Grief Will Turn to Joy.” Jesus gives them a compelling reason this will happen along with an example that we can all understand.
First, Jesus talks about His upcoming death (John 16:16-17), but the disciples get confused. One thing that we need to remember about this time is that the Disciples did not all have access to the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus’ death and sending of the Holy Spirit, God’s people needed Rabbi’s and prophets, who God placed His Spirit on, to discern God’s word. Disciples would follow a Rabbi and build their life around helping him with His teachings. Jesus’ disciples left their lives to follow Jesus. This is why it was so harmful that Jesus would go away. They would be devastated that He left, and it would feel like their hopes and dreams for a better life were dashed. This is part of the reason they are so confused.
Jesus, explains again, but this time tells them that they are going to weep and mourn. He also gives them an example of a woman in labor, who must labor through the pain to get to the joy of holding a new baby. He is trying to prepare them for His death, which will feel like the worst thing that has ever happened to them until they see Him again (John 16:20-22
He then tells them the key to joy, overcoming troubles and why it is better that He go, even though it will be a time of great mourning for them. He tells them that His death will give them access to the Father to pray in Jesus’ name (John 16:23). This direct access to God, His will and His wisdom, was given to us by Jesus’ atoning death on the cross and this is what makes our joy complete (John 16:23) Our joy is complete, when we are back in a right relationship with God, living out life with Him, and in obedience to His will.
The disciples then think they understand, but Jesus warns them they do not understand, and they will be scattered with the upcoming events. What He means by this is they would not have enough faith to believe that God’s plan included the harsh death of Jesus on a cross and they would be devastated and go back to their normal lives, thinking they were wrong about Him all along (John 16:29-32
Then Jesus, rewarns them, even telling them why He is telling them these things. Listen to how the Message puts it: “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this Godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 MSG).
There are a couple key things in Jesus’ lesson about Peace and Joy. First, peace, deep unshakable peace, is not caused by the lack of experiencing trouble. He tells us the exact opposite is true about living in the broken world. He does not say we may have some troubles. He says that we absolutely will. And this is just as hard for us as it was the disciples. There is something in us that knows we were made for the perfection of the garden. We want things to be perfect, and know inherently when they are not. But sometimes instead of allowing troubles to drive us towards God, they make us believe that He must not be working on our behalf. This causes us to take control and worry. But control robs us of our true peace.
The disciples and the Jewish people wanted Jesus to stay, take over Rome, and be their King on earth because they thought that would give them peace. They thought controlling the land would give them the peace they were after, but God’s plan was better.
Jesus told them and us that our true peace and complete joy comes from trusting, in faith, that God has overcome the brokenness that sin brought into the world and that we can live in relationship with Him because of His death on the cross. And when we receive His wisdom, trust and obey His plan, our joy is then made complete. To do this, though we must believe that God wants us to have joy. That He desires good for us.
I think that It is hard for us to believe that God’s plan will bring us more joy than our own plan. There is a self-serving and self-preserving sin nature in us that believes we know what will bring us the ultimate joy. But I think God is saying, no child, I know you even better than you know yourself, and I have a better plan for you to make your joy complete for now and forever.
In summary, Jesus is saying you can have peace, comfort, and Joy, regardless of any trouble, but it may not come the way you think. He is telling us to trust God and let Him be in control. To believe that He desires good toward us so we can and should follow Him. Then we can be at peace, and rest in the comfort and joy we were made to have in every season.
Lets Pray: Lord, the gift you gave us in your son who atoned for us is the source of our peace, comfort and joy. Help us to let you have your way in our lives so we can be at peace and live in the joy that you desire for us in relationship with you. Help us to lay down our worries, a sure sign we are in the drivers seat, and let you take over. In Jesus name, Amen,