Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here. John 14:27-31
The disciples had spent three years following Jesus. They were with Him every day and as they sat at the table hearing Jesus talk about leaving them they must have had a sense of impending loss. Here was the man they believed was the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God and He is talking about dying. I am sure many troubling thoughts were going through their heads. Did we get it wrong, is Jesus not the Messiah? Is He really talking about dying or maybe He is just leaving us and if so why?
Something was about to happen that none of the Jews expected, not the priest and other authorities or the average Jew on the street. None of them believed that the Messiah would die. Everyone believed that the Messiah would bring about the return of the kingship of David and overthrow Roman rule. It would take Jesus’ death and resurrection to enable His disciples to understand why Jesus stopped where He did when He read from the Isaiah scroll in the synagogue and stopped at the first part of what we now call verse 2 of the 61st chapter of Isaiah and told those in attendance that today this verse has been fulfilled in your presence (see Luke 4:16-22).
Now the Jews had always recognized Isaiah chapter 61 as messianic but it was only after Jesus’ earthly ministry that some began to understand that the Messiah’s ministry came in two parts. The first was for salvation and the second for rule and judgment. While God’s word never changes we sometimes need to advantage of hindsight to fully understand what God is telling us.
Jesus also tells the disciples that He will not walk with them for much longer as the “ruler of this world is coming”, Jesus is talking about Satan. Don’t misunderstand, Satan is not running Jesus off, Satan is fulfilling God’s plan. Ever since Satan rebelled against God he has been trying to thwart God and set himself up as equal or above God. What he doesn’t understand is he is unwittingly part of fulfilling God’s plan. What Satan did was to entice both Judas and the high priests to betray and arrest Jesus and then bring Him to Pilot for execution. Satan’s work was not done, he had to make sure that Pilot would not just flog and release Jesus but crucify Him. Satan did all this not to help God but to finally beat God. He must have felt pretty good from Thursday night right up until Sunday morning around sunrise. Then it must have struck Satan like a bolt of lightning that all he did was to just a part of God’s plan to save us.
So, like the disciples we too should not let our hearts be troubled. Jesus may not be physically here but we are not alone. He left us a helper, the Holy Spirit. Satan also should not trouble us. Even when he does not want to Satan also is used by God to fulfill His purposes. All we need do is follow Jesus. He will make our burdens light and is always there to guide us and change us. Satan may try to fool us but he has no power over us, only what God may allow. Satan may test us but he cannot have us, we are God’s forever.
Have a blessed day,