Jesus was getting closer and closer to the time of His arrest and crucifixion and was teaching the disciples some of the more difficult lessons they would learn from Him. In verses 27-28 He told them,
“for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
Jesus told His friends clearly, He came from God and was leaving to return to the Father. They had believed Him and known it. They had declared it themselves, and they had heard Jesus say it in numerous ways. Jesus proclaimed He was the Messiah to them. He was nearly finished with His work on earth and would be going back to the Father soon. They had vacillated from time to time. Now they felt they had confirmation that fortified their belief once and for all.
The disciples responded in verses 29-30.
“His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.”
I think it is the mark of a true student and good teacher than the student can be transparent with the teacher and understand that his honesty will allow him to learn more. The disciples could admit that up until that moment they had waffled a little over Jesus’ identity. They knew He was the Christ but sometimes they doubted. Jesus knew that. This wasn’t news to Him. God knows our hearts and there is no reason ever to hide any of it from Him.
Jesus knew their hearts better than they did. He didn’t chastise them and say, “Seriously, after all the miracles and everything you’ve experienced you still harbor some questions?” He answered, “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.” (Verses 31-32). There is no scolding in His answer. He was showing them their hearts. They thought their belief was cemented and strong, but soon the events that unfolded would be so difficult that their certainty would crumble and their faith would wither to microscopic proportions. Whatever pride they held at that moment was burst, their attention was taken off of their own goodness and focused back to Jesus.
While Jesus told them they would scatter and abandon Him, He assured them He wouldn’t be alone, the Father was with Him. He gave them devastating news about themselves and He comforted them at the same time. “It’s okay, I understand, you’re human, but I don’t depend on you for strength and comfort, I depend on my Father.”
The disciples must have been shattered at His words. They really loved Jesus. But Jesus had more words for them and He knew that at the right time, the Spirit would remind them of what He said and comfort them. Verse 33 reads,
“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.”
Jesus arrest was going to be bad, His mock trial horrible, and His crucifixion indescribably awful. All but John would desert Him. Imagine the way they felt cowering in their homes thinking they had disappointed their Lord. But Jesus had already forgiven them. He had already consoled them before they even did it. And He spoke words for them and for us that greatly encourage.
We do have trouble in the world. The struggles don’t stop because we become followers of Christ. In fact the conflict with the world becomes greater. Our very souls are in opposition to the world. But in Jesus and with Jesus we have peace. He comforts us throughout any difficulties. He has taken away our discord with God. We are at peace with God because Jesus overcame the world. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. He made the way for us to know Him, to commune with the Father, and to be filled with the Spirit of God. Jesus overcame the world so we could overcome the world.
What are you struggling through right now? Let the Spirit comfort you. Remember the peace Jesus made for you. Remember the Father is your Father too. His love covers you. Because Jesus overcame the world, so have you.