Bible Text: John 16:23-33 | Preacher: Rev. Mark Buetow | Series: 2016
Finally! They get it! The disciples have heard Jesus all this time and they keep asking “What’s He talking about?” And they’re so excited! “Ok, Lord! Now we get it! Now you’re speaking plainly! We understand! Now we believe that you have come from the Father!” It’s a brilliant “aha!” moment in which the disciples of Jesus finally understand and confess their faith in Him. And how does Jesus reply? “Well done! It’s about time! Good job, guys. I’m glad you finally got it!” Um, no. Not at all! He says, “Oh, do you believe now? I tell you, you’re all gonna be scattered and run away and I’ll be left alone!” Ha! They are super excited that they think they’ve got faith and understand all this stuff and Jesus just shuts them down telling them all about how they’re gonna run away. And then, this whole Gospel reading ends with one of the best promises I’ve ever heard Jesus say: “In this world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Get it? You guys have no clue. But I’m going to overcome the world and save you. So. Much. Comfort for sinners. For you and me.
Do you ever feel like you get it? You’ve got Jesus figured out? You understand? You know what’s going on? You’re living your life well? Don’t worry, you’ll mess up! You’ll fail. You’ll be grabbed by some temptation and run away and forget. Well guess what? Jesus has overcome the world. In this world you will have tribulation. Heartache. Suffering. Bad things happening. Be of good cheer. Jesus has overcome the world. That’s right. Any tribulation you have, any suffering, any bad thing–it’s been overcome by Jesus. Overcome by the cross. Overcome by His suffering and death. Overcome by His blood shed for you. Overcome by His resurrection from the dead. I’ve said it before this Easter season and I’ll say it again because it’s the big message of these readings: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. Therefore everything simply must be all right in the end. It can’t not be. Even disciples running away. Even sinners falling into sin. Jesus has overcome the world by His death and resurrection and therefore everything is going to be just fine in the end. Because He’s defeated every enemy that can try to make it otherwise.
The disciples DID all run away. They were scattered and Jesus was left alone to suffer and die by Himself. But then He rose and He appeared to His disciples and showed them that He has overcome the world and they had joy no one could take away. Same for you. You’ll blow it. You’ll mess it up. You’ll make a hash of things. You’ll sin. Big time. Awful. But then Jesus will appear to you in His church, with His gifts. To give you forgiveness and life and salvation and joy. He’ll remind you of what He did at the font for you. He’ll absolve you. He’ll preach to you. He’ll feed you with His body and blood. And in each of those gifts, week in and week out, you can see His victory and triumph over sin and death and this world. In each of those gifts, you have the thing that gives you good cheer in the midst of the trouble the world has for you. What can the world do to you? You’re baptized! What can Satan accuse you of? You’re forgiven! What bad news can there be that isn’t answered by the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection? What mess can be made that isn’t left behind when the Lord brings you to His altar to feast upon His flesh and blood and promises to raise you on the Last Day? And that is why He says to ask the Father anything in His name. So we do. Dear Father in heaven, let us have this good cheer that Jesus has overcome the world, so that we overcome it too, in Him. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.