From Disciples to Apostles
August 5, 2022
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
Here the instructions of Jesus to His disciples are concluded until after the resurrection. It was a monumental body of truth that He gave, often repeating certain truths for emphasis. As stated earlier, I have no doubt the disciples couldn’t grasp much of it because of their emotional pain, frustration, and sorrow. But the promise of the Holy Spirit was included in these words of Jesus, and the comforting reality that He would remind them of all that Jesus had said and would give them insight to the meaning of His words.
The purpose for these instructions were not intended to make the disciples popular or successful, or rich and famous by the world’s standards. No. They were given to give them peace. Peace is not the absence of conflict. If anything, the greater conflict of the life of Jesus and the disciples was about to begin - and intensify. Genuine peace (eirene) literally means ‘quietness, rest, to be set at one again’. It is a calm repose of mind and spirit in the midst of conflict.
Christians experience ‘positional’ peace because of Jesus - they have been set right again with God; their relationship with God is one of quiet rest and contentment. They also are to experience ‘practical’ peace - they are to be set right again with others; their relationship with others is to be one of quiet rest and contentment. Christians are at peace positionally with God, but they are to pursue peace practically through sanctification, purifying themselves and their relationships so that there is no stumbling block, offense, or contention between them and others.
All that Jesus told the disciples in His lengthy discourse was said to bring them into a peaceful relationship with God, among themselves, and with those they would minister to for the rest of their lives. Jesus warned them they would experience ‘tribulation’ (thlipsis), which is trouble with suffering. But they were to be of good cheer (tharseo), to have great courage in the face of trouble and danger. Why? Because Jesus has overcome (nikao: conquered) the world; He has defeated Satan, sin, and the effects of sin.
After the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, and after the Holy Spirit came upon them at Pentecost, the disciples were transformed from fearful disciples to courageous Apostles. They would face tremendous opposition and persecution that would end in their deaths (except for John who died a natural death). But it no longer mattered what the world would, could, and did to them - they were victorious in Christ Jesus throughout the rest of their lives and on into glory. Satan, sin, and their ministers no longer had a hold on them. I pray that same attitude will grip the modern Christian in the godless and sin saturated culture we live in today - all for the glory of Jesus Christ. Amen.