We all need encouragement. Regardless of our station in life, from time to time we need our hearts to be lifted. There is nothing like a good “pep talk” from someone who cares about us to recharge our spiritual and emotional batteries and help us refocus our energies.
But as good as a pep talk can be, I want to share something with you today that is so much more than a pep talk because it comes from the lips of our Lord.
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)
These are the final words Jesus spoke to His disciples before He offered His great High Priestly Prayer and was subsequently arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Fully aware of His impending torture and death, Jesus was more concerned about making sure His disciples were ministered to. So He gave them something far greater than a mere pep talk; when Jesus commanded the disciples to take heart, He was also giving them the power with which to do it.
For all those who are in Christ, here is something that we must remember:
Greater is the power in you than any power that comes up against you!
This power, of course, is the promised Holy Spirit that Jesus would send after His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. He had promised never to leave the disciples alone and to give them a peace that passes all understanding. Even in the face of the trials that awaited them, they would know, by way of His resurrection, that He had indeed overcome the world.
To be sure, on that Good Friday morning, as Jesus hung on that cruel cross it looked like the world had won its dark victory. The world mocked and laughed and gambled for His garments. Finally, in unimaginable anguish and suffering, Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!” To many of those who heard him, this was confirmation that God had abandoned Jesus to die like a common criminal on the cruelest instrument of death in the world at that time. But it was only Good Friday . . . and Sunday morning was coming!
The apparent defeat of Jesus hanging and dying on a cross was the doorway into the greatest victory the world has ever known. On that first Easter morning, a dead man got up and walked out of His grave; His name is Jesus Christ. And that is why what Jesus has to say to us is always more than a pep talk. Jesus speaks life and imparts life to us moment by moment, and He reminds us that no matter what difficulties we face in this life, we are to take heart . . . because He has overcome it all.
May that truth set us all free!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!