I have said these things to you all in parables: the hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you all in parables, but rather in plainness and openness of speech, freely, boldly, I will declare to you all concerning the Father.
In that day you all will ask in my name, and I am not telling you all that I myself will ask the Father concerning you all.
For the Father -himself- loves (phileo) you all, because you all have loved (phileo) me and have believed that I came from God.
I came from the Father and have gone into the world, again I am taking leave from the world and am going to the Father.Jesus to his disciples, John 16:25-28
You Have Believed I Came From God.
Jesus now paused, having given his deepest teaching yet, the most important things, his last will and testament before he would face the cross.
Love each other as he had loved them.
This was his command.
And then to pray in his name, to ask the Father for whatever would be in character for Jesus.
This was also his command.
In summary, Jesus reminded his disciples of his divine nature, and they responded with belief
Behold! Now you speak openly and freely, and not in adages. Now we have perceived and known that you have perceived and known everything and you do not have a need for someone to question you, in these things we believe that you came from God.Disciples to Jesus, John 16:29-30
Jesus had been talking to them in parables, with washing their feet, talking about the vine and branches, the woman in childbirth.
But this was plain talking.
They felt a sense of security in being able to grasp what Jesus was saying, and as far as they could fathom, they did believe.
But, as yet, theirs was an untested faith. Their understanding was still limited.
Jesus prophesied that in the next twenty-four hours the disciples would scatter. Their confident faith would be shaken as Jesus was crucified. They would all leave Jesus, run away to their own homes to hide. They would abandon the one they loved.
Behold, the hour is coming and has come that you all will have scattered, each into your own separate [place]; and likewise you all would forsake and leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
I have said these things to you in order that in me you will have peace.Jesus to his disciples, John 16:32-33
Even so, in his greatest hour of anguish, Jesus would not be utterly alone. Jesus would face the cross with inner peace because the Father would be with him. It was this peace that Jesus would be able to give to his disciples, and to every believer.
Here we see a principle of God at work: just as the source of pain becomes the source of joy, so it is that peace does not come through circumstances.
Peace comes inwardly through the Holy Spirit’s presence and work.
It is impossible to enjoy life, no matter how good it is, without peace within oneself. You and I can have youth, health, beauty, wealth, an amazing job, the love of our lives, a wonderful family and community . . . but if we are feeling stressed, or have underlying despair, or anxiety, then every day is a nightmare. On the other hand, if we have peace within ourselves, then we can handle anything life brings along, knowing God is with us.
Shalom, the Peace of Christ
Most of us deal with anxiety and stress on a daily basis.
We live in the information age, with noise all around us, the bombardment of television, radio, computer, cell phone, iPads, the news, the weather, advertisements, texts and IMs, TikToks and tweets, Zooms and chats and emails and Marco Polos. We live in a tension-filled, pressure-packed, break-neck paced kind of culture. We try to cope, maybe with healthy methods, maybe with not so healthy methods.
What makes calmness so elusive today?
Why is it so hard to find peace?
Because people often have a mistaken notion about peace. Inner peace cannot be achieved simply through mental discipline, and it is not dependent upon outside events. Inner peace comes through connection with the divine, through spiritual union with the source of peace.
Real peace is from God, it is God’s gift.
Real peace cannot exist apart from God because it is part of God’s very nature.
The more of ourselves that you and I give to the Lord to fill, the more we will sense God’s peace flooding our souls, that quiet, confident faith that pushes out fear, stress, anxiety, and despair. The peace God will give goes beyond emotions. True peace is union with God, being right with God and intimately involved with God.
Inner Peace, Outer Change
Sometimes inner peace will be linked with outer change. Maybe there is a lifestyle issue that is causing anxiety. If so, God will reveal it. Maybe there is some unfinished business causing blanket stress. God will bring that up.
Sometimes God gives peace through the course of helping us to restructure, rearrange, and rebuild our lives to align with God’s truth and way. God guides us to make healthful choices that promote inner peace. Sometimes we find how closely connected inner spiritual peace is with physical and mental well-being.
Sometimes peace comes as God helps us sort through warped thinking, hidden wounds, trauma, and maladaptive ways of coping with life and relationships.
Because there is a guarantee connected to linking our own life with the Lord’s.
In the world you all have anguish, affliction, burden, pressure, and tribulation, but rather, you all be confident!
Be of good courage!
I have prevailed and gotten the victory, I have overcome the world.Jesus to his disciples, John16:32
Jesus already has victory in every area of our lives, and is saying this very thing to you and me today. We need only realize the truth, with Jesus, and claim that victory for ourselves.
The Holy Spirit confers peace and victory.
God’s Strategy, in a Nutshell
Going through this chapter, I can see the Lord’s strategy for bringing God’s plan of salvation into the world. In the series of blogs I did just before this one, I read through the book of Acts, and I can see how the early church put God’s strategy to work:
1) Be transformed by the Holy Spirit, who comes to live within every person who puts their faith in the Lord Jesus.
2) Apply God’s word to our lives as the Spirit guides us in to all truth.
3) Pray confidently in Jesus’ name, then wait for God to transform sorrows into joy.
4) Know and live by God’s unfailing love.
5) Believe God and trust God with our entire lives, expecting God to have the victory.
Think of how the early church turned the world upside down with this simple strategy, empowered by God. They did not have nearly the resources you and I have today, or all the resources churches have today.
What do you think you and I could be capable of today, if we, with all we already have to give to the Lord, followed this strategy, too?
[Waterfall | BerryJ, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]