“Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “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.”
Jesus tells His disciples that they can have peace and to take heart because He has overcome the world. He says this because He will overcome the powers of darkness (John 1:5) through His death and resurrection. He proclaims this now because He has already healed people, raised others from the dead (Luke 7:15, Mark 5:42, John 11:44), and driven out demons, proving He is able to overpower what people consider unmovable forces. Jesus makes this claim as though it has already happened because He is confident in His prophetic proclamation and life purpose that He will rise again after suffering and dying for the sins of all people. It is interesting that Jesus speaks of both peace and trouble in the same breath. This is because he is saying that the peace He wishes for you does not depend on the absence of all difficulties; but rather, His peace brings freedom from anxiety while struggling with difficulties. We will most certainly have struggles, but as we stay close to Jesus and follow His ways, He will give us an inner peace in the midst of our struggles. Jesus also says to “take heart.” The Greek word is, “tharsĕō.” It means to have and/or take courage. Jesus doesn’t want us to shrink back in fear when things don’t go our way or we are unsure of the future, He wants us to have faith in Him so we can have inner peace and be courageous. He used this same Greek verb, “tharsĕō” with His disciples when there was a great storm and He was walking towards them on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were terrified thinking He was a ghost so he responded to them, “(tharsĕō) Take courage!” (Mark 6:50). Jesus did not overcome the world for His own sake. Because He is the Son of God His victory of overcoming the world is now offered to us as a victory to overcome everything we face in the world as we embrace Him in faith. He was offering genuine good news to the disciples in the first-century and us today, “Take courage! Choose faith so you can have inner peace! I have faced your enemy and vanquished him. I have fought your battle on the battleground of human experience where you must fight. I have routed the foe. You can’t do it on your own, but I have done it and I can do it again in you. Abide in me and my victory is yours.” (NIV Application Commentary).
We will most certainly have struggles, but as we stay close to Jesus and follow His ways, He will give us an inner peace in the midst of our struggles.
Do you want to have greater inner peace and be more courageous in your life? The two go hand-in-hand. In areas where we don’t have peace, we often have fear or unsettled hurt. Fear or unsettled hurt makes us shrink back where inner peace gives us confidence to be courageous.
In one of my favorite childhood movies, The Wizard of Oz, one of Dorothy’s companions is the Cowardly Lion. He believes that his lack of courage makes him inadequate. I could relate with the Cowardly Lion, as I struggled with fear, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. When the lion meets Dorothy, he has no inner peace and is so full of fear and anxiety he proclaimed to her that he hadn’t slept for weeks. The Tin Man, Scarecrow and Dorothy decide to let him join their group and to go meet the Wizard of Oz so he can get courage. Only during the aftereffects of the Wizard’s gift, giving him the medal of courage, does he realize he’s courageous. God is offering you your own medal of courage. It’s in relationship with His Son, Jesus, and allowing Him to take all of your hurts and fears. Jesus lived a victorious life and overcame the world so we can live a courageous life in Him. Jesus is handing you a medal that reads, “Take courage!” You didn’t earn it or deserve it, but he his handing it to you because you believe in him and he loves you.
Is there an area in your life where you are shrinking back with fear or hurts and you need inner peace and courage? What is it? Talk with Jesus about it. Then, reach out your hands and take the medal of courage Jesus is handing you today. Take courage, put your medal on, put your head up, shoulders back and walk in a new life of victory.