I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33 HCSB)
When I think of peace, I think of sitting on my couch reading a book with the television off and the kids nowhere around. Or lying in a hammock under some trees reading or daydreaming while the sky is blue, the clouds white and fluffy, the temperature a nice 70 degrees, and a sweet scent blowing in the breeze.
Some people find the beach peaceful while others would prefer a more mountainous setting. Many people find a light rain brings a sense of peace and restfulness. They often have their best naps during a drizzle.
I learned something about the peace Jesus was talking about in the verse above. Our English word peace was used to translate the Hebrew word “shalom.” Yet shalom means more than just a quiet moment. According to the Encyclopedia of the Bible found on BibleGateway.com also means soundness, completeness, welfare, harmony, concord, security, safety, assurance. That’s a lot more than just quietness.
I suppose that is why Jesus continues in the verse to say that we will suffer, but we have nothing to fear because he has already conquered the world.
What does He mean by conquered the world? In John 20, the story is told of how Mary went to the tomb but found the stone missing and the body gone. She ran to tell Peter and John. They, in turn, ran to the tomb to see for themselves. Jesus had told them over and over that he would come back to life. The scriptures explained it also. But they walked away not putting two and two together.
Then, the disciples were together behind locked doors on two separate times in chapter 20 and Jesus appeared to them. Once he entered he said, “Peace to you!” I believe this was not just a greeting, but a blessing to bring peace, soundness, completeness, welfare, harmony, concord, security, safety, and assurance. You see, the reason the disciples were locked behind closed doors was because they were afraid of the Jews. Afraid they would be next, I suppose. Afraid they would be thrown in jail, beaten, and who knows what else.
Can you picture it? They’re all standing and sitting around talking in hushed voices, depressed, and not sure what to do with their life now. Suddenly, Jesus is among them and says, “Peace to you!” Just as suddenly, they’re filled with a sense of calmness, completeness, security, happiness and boldness.
After Jesus goes to heaven, His words in John 16:33 are fulfilled. The disciples went out telling people about Jesus, but they were persecuted; they suffered in this world. Yet, they had courage because they understood that Jesus had already conquered the world. Many people have come to believe and are given the perfect peace that can come only from Jesus.
We also will have sufferings. Maybe not the same way that the disciples suffered though there are places in the world where they do. One thing is for sure, Jesus has already won the battle and we can have courage in that so that if we believe we can have peace even in our sufferings.
Lord, give me peace. Help me to understand it better. Not the peace the world understands, but the peace that comes in believing in Jesus Christ. May you have all the praise in the works of my hands. Thank you for loving me.