On Thursday, two terrible things happened. We all watched the news again as a gunman targeted a school in Oregon and killed a number of its students and injured many more. We saw the bravery of a man trying to save others, and we also saw once more as families we broken by a very lost man. On that same day on my sister campus, a young man was found dead in his dorm room. Students woke up to find their friend gone, siblings their brothers, and parents their son.
The world is on fire everywhere else. From the Middle East, to Russia, to France, to England, and all the way over here in the U.S. It is a terrible thing to think of all of the awful things happening in the world. There is strife between people, murder of the innocent, and emptiness in the hearts of people to name just a few elements of this broken world. It would take too long to list the number of troubles this world contains.
Sometimes, it is hard to believe that this much trouble could happen all at the same time. Yet in spite of all this evil, Christ has not left us without hope.
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 16:33 ~
So what can we know from these words? At the start, we know that there was much more said that obviously may bring distress to the disciples whom Jesus is talking to. In the previous verses and chapters, Jesus is telling them about all the trouble that will come. He says that they will face rules, be thrown in prison, and perhaps killed for their faith. He says quite frankly that the world will hate them because of Him.
In other parts of the Bible, we read that the world will keep getting worse and worse until the second coming. When we look at the world, we wonder how much worse it is going to get. When we see the world, all we see is trouble. All we can see is a world without hope and containing anything but peace.
Yet what does Christ say? He says that He tells us these things so that in Him we may have peace. He gives us a warning, but says do not fear, for you are in Me. He reminds us of all the things He says in previous verses: we will have trouble in this world. But why should we not be troubled? Because He – the Christ and our redeemer – has overcome the world.
You see, what was also mentioned in those previous passages was His prediction of His death. This death would happen not long after He spoke these words. In that ultimate sacrifice, Christ suffered, died, and was buried so that our sins might be paid for. This world is full of trouble because of sin, and it is prowled by the deceiver and death. Yet in Christ’s death he paid for our sins, and in His resurrection he defeated death. He sacrificed Himself because He loved us. He did what he promised to do from the Fall in the Garden. He crushed the serpent’s head and saved us from our sin!
We do not have to be troubled by the things of this world, because in spite of it all, God has overcome it. He has defeated sin and death, and in Him we may be pure and have eternal life. Thus we may have peace because in spite of all these troubles, we have assurance and hope in Christ.
There are a lot of other terrible things that have happened today and yesterday and will happen tomorrow. We are going to have trouble, and sin still exists. But in Christ we can have peace in our hearts because in spite of tragedy, we can have hope because of Christ’s sacrifice and enduring love. A love that is so great that it lived, died, and rose for us while still in our sin. He is our Redeemer and Overcomer, and in that we have peace.