By Chuck Williams
Interim Pastor, First Baptist Church, Milan
It has often been said, ‘The greater the struggle, the greater the victory.’ Ask any mother with her newborn infant, any athlete after a last second win, any struggling Christian who receives an answer to a desperate prayer and most will say, “It was very difficult, but it was well worth the sacrifice.”
Before anesthesia, a mother could cry out in anguish during childbirth. For her it must seem like every minute is an hour. Then later, after the delivery, she beams with joy because of the new life she holds in her arms. The one who caused her so much pain, now gives her the greatest delight. With this in mind, let’s examine two truths.
Because we live in a fallen world, we will have sorrow. Jesus was conveying to the disciples that soon there would be events which would lead to His death and resurrection. He would be buried and that would seem to be the end of His life and the beginning of their great sorrows.
God’s work was not to replace their sorrow with joy, but to “turn” their sorrow into joy. It is interesting to note that the disciples never spoke of the Lord’s death with regret. They mention distress during the crucifixion, and anguish at the tomb, but after the resurrection and Pentecost they only speak words of faith and life.
The disciples were very perplexed by His statements. They were like a patient in a hospital room awaiting surgery. The surgeon is going over the procedure in medical terminology. The patient cannot comprehend what is being explained. The disciples were having a similar comprehension problem because Jesus promised the “Great Reversal.”
He states in verse 20 that the evil ones of the world would soon celebrate what they thought would be the end of the “Jesus Problem.” The disciples would have their hopes crushed, but Jesus tells them, “Hang on, when things are at their worst, the roles will be reversed. Sorrow will be replaced with victory, light will overcome darkness and victory will triumph over defeat.
Because we worship a resurrected Savior, we will have victory (vv. 27-33). He gives them three promises to stand upon.
(1) The promise of the Father’s love (v. 27). They would be loved by the Father because they had loved the Son. A pulse does not make the heart work, but it is evidence of it. Our love for God does not make Him love us, but it certainly gives evidence that He loves us.
(2). The promise of peace. His peace would not be the absence of trials but the presence of the Holy Spirit.
(3) The promise of overcoming. We are overcomers not because of our righteousness but because He has overcome! His victory has stripped away our past transgressions, taken our polluted soul and washed it clean.
This victorious Savior has broken the chains which bound our soul and opened prison doors. He has given rest to the weary, hope to the helpless and life to those dead in sin. If we will believe and pray, we too shall experience this same victory! B&R