Today’s Reading: John 13-16
Today’s Reflection: John 11:31-33
31) Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32) Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33) 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.”
It was a special occasion to be sure, being Passover. And it had marked the close to an amazing week. When they had arrived in Jerusalem, their rabbi had been greeted with praises, people tossing down their cloaks and palm leaves on the ground as He rode into the city on a donkey, like a king. Even with the constant conflicts with the Pharisees, scribes and Saducees, surely the favour of the people would see their rabbi rise in prominence. So the atmosphere around the dining table that evening was light, boisterous and celebratory. Except for their rabbi, their master and teacher. He was somber and reflective. But then again, wasn’t Jesus often that way?
Despite Jesus warnings, despite telling His disciples of trials and tribulations to come, they just didn’t get it. Here at the last supper, then later in the garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus went under the greatest agony of His life with the sacrifice and suffering of the cross awaiting Him, His disciples, His chosen followers and friends missed the significance of what was happening. Instead of engaging in serious discussion about the trials and tribulations they would face they argued about who would be the greatest among them and made idle boasts of their faithfulness that would prove false; instead of praying for Jesus in what was clearly a challenging time for Him, they fell asleep. And when the Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus, His closest friends would run and hide to save themselves. Most of them wouldn’t even venture near Calvary where Jesus was eventually crucified.
All of this was just hours away and the disciples didn’t have a clue.
Knowing all this was to come, Jesus spends considerable time giving His disciples encouragement about what was to come and how to endure. John 13-16 chronicles this message. At the end of His address, Jesus gives them the worst of it. He told of being abandoned by His disciples in His greatest hour of distress—talk about killing the celebration. And yet Jesus says He has told them these things so they could have peace, knowing that He has overcome the world and they can too through Him.
When we think things are going along wonderfully God is looking out ahead for disaster and calamity we cannot even fathom. God sees the gathering storms long before we do. The challenges and difficulties that annoy us and that we do not understand are things He is using to prepare us for the greater trials and tribulation to come. And through many of these difficulties God may allow us to fail just so we can understand our need to grow closer to Him. But this isn’t to make us despair. Just as with the disciples, it is to affirm to us that despite our trouble in the world, we serve one who has overcome the world. And if we remain in Him we too will overcome the world.
Romans 8:36-39 – 36) As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37) No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38) For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39) nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.