The stage was being set. The hour was drawing near. Jesus knew He had very little time left to prepare His disciples for what was to come. He didn’t create detailed handouts or make His disciples take sermon notes. He asked them to share a meal with Him. He washed their feet. He loved them. He spoke gently to them and tried to give last minute guidance and instruction. Even the man who would betray Him–He loved Him too.
After Judas had left the room, Jesus began to tell the other 11 what their lives were going to be like. He said He was leaving them for a while, but then He would be back. They were confused… “Where? Why? How?” He couldn’t answer their questions and had so much He wanted to tell them, but they wouldn’t have understood the big picture.
He gave them a glimpse of what their future held. It wasn’t fame and fortune. It wasn’t going to be easy–far from it! In fact, most of them would die because they were followers of Jesus. He told them they would be kept out of the synagogue and that anyone who killed them would believe they were doing a service for God! (John 16:2)
You and I not promised an easy life either. Just scroll through Facebook or turn on the news and we can read and hear story after story of heartache, anguish, and suffering. And despite what some false teachers are saying these days, there is not automatic prosperity in following Jesus. In fact, Jesus straight up told us, “In this world, you WILL have trouble,” (John 16:33). It’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN? And will your heart be focused on Him and not caught up in the ways of this world? Nothing is promised to us. Not even the next breath you breathe. The roof could leak. The car could break down. The job could be lost. The diagnosis could be bad. The healing could never come. The people you love could die. In fact, one or all of those things are likely to happen to you and me in the course of our lives.
My life may seem happy right now, and it is. And I’m grateful, but I have a lot of questions about suffering and why I and so many people I love have had to endure so much. Why does someone molest a three year old? Why do I have to live with those violent memories my entire life and struggle and pray for them to go away on a daily basis? And why was my dad cold and distant and unloving? Why did he try to kill my mom twice? Why did he make our home so unstable and scary? Why do I have a disease that threatens to steal my mobility and mental stability? Was I so horrible before coming to Jesus that these were my punishments for living as a sinful unbeliever? No. Friend, let me tell you something right now. Jesus was right there. Even when I wasn’t drawing near to Him, He was drawing near to me. He was bringing me comfort and laughter and joy through my mom, my grandparents, and my siblings when I felt like my world was crashing in. He was writing a new story for me. One that would prepare me for whatever was to come. He took what was broken and turned it into something beautiful. He gave me a hope and a future.
Much like the disciples, we’re full of questions when we don’t like what’s happening. They wanted Jesus to stay with them and didn’t understand why on earth He would leave them. They couldn’t see the big picture. And neither can we.
In this world, we will have trouble, sweet friends.
BUT . . .
Jesus also said, “But TAKE HEART! I have overcome the world.”
I like to picture Jesus doing a little mic drop here :). He’s the beginning. He’s the end. He knows our entire pasts and our complete futures. He knows the purpose in all the suffering. We won’t understand it all on this side of Heaven, but we can take heart that HE has overcome it all for us!
Today is Easter. It’s my most favorite holiday. It’s the day that Satan lost. Sin was depleted of it’s power over us. Death could no longer touch us. We deserve Hell, folks. None of us is sinless. I don’t know your worst sins and I certainly don’t want to tell you mine. We will never be deserving of salvation. But that’s what makes the gift of grace SO AMAZING!
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8
WHILE we were still sinners, guys. He died for US. And then, guess what!?! He rose from the dead! He overcame the greatest suffering and sorrow and walked out of that tomb the greatest hero of all time! That same Jesus is alive right now and is longing for you to take a step closer to Him. If you don’t know Jesus, and hey, even if you do know Jesus, let’s say this little prayer together:
Here I am, Lord. Please come and be the Lord of my life. Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of the Almighty, Living God and I accept you as my Lord and Savior. Father, you take the broken things and make them into something beautiful. Please take my brokenness, my doubts, my fears, my suffering, my struggles and make them into something that beautifully glorifies You. In Jesus name, Amen.
Happy Easter, my dear friends. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you want someone to talk to or pray with.