Summary: Life is filled with uncertainty. In fact, life can be chaotic at times. It is easy to lose focus and stumble among the chaos. Fortunately, we do not have to succumb to the uncertainties; we can overcome in Christ.
Confidence within the Chaos
John 16: 32-33
We have read a passage from one of my favorite sections of Scripture. Beginning in chapter thirteen, and going through chapter seventeen of John, we find an intimate account of the last hours Jesus spent with His disciples prior to His arrest, trial, and crucifixion.
As you read these beautiful passages, you can sense the heaviness felt by all. Our Lord is dealing with the coming crucifixion and the burden of sin. The disciples are in a state of shock – trying to make sense of all they have heard, and pondering their very uncertain future. In the midst of this great heaviness, Jesus offers words of wisdom to reassure and comfort the disciples.
This moment happened thousands of years ago, and yet it remains relevant in our day. While our current situation may not be as intense as that particular moment, we have all dealt with heaviness in life. We have faced situations that were beyond our control, and we have contemplated which path to take, or how we are to survive. The Lord never promised we wouldn’t face moments like these, but He did promise to be there with us. He offers confidence even in the midst of great uncertainty. Let’s look in on this touching moment and examine the affirmations of Jesus as we consider: Confidence within the Chaos.
I. A Moment of Preparation (32) – Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. Knowing what would soon transpire, Jesus seizes an opportunity for a final moment of preparation with the disciples. He was aware this was:
A. A Time of Difficulty (32a) – Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own. His arrest at the hands of the Roman guard is just moments away. Jesus knew the disciples would flee in fear, being scattered into the darkness of the night. Fear would grip their hearts. Their world would soon be turned upside down. After years of faithful service, following the Lord, they would see Him arrested by His accusers and led away to stand trial. Their future at that moment would seem very uncertain. They would face the greatest difficulty of their lives very soon.
Trials and difficulty come to all of us. They appear in varied forms, and in different levels of intensity, but we are all familiar with difficulty. It is unavoidable and unpreventable. Facing and enduring difficulty is simply part of life. Difficulty often leads to isolation. I have never understood why we respond as we do, but often when faced with adversity, we hide away in seclusion, separating ourselves from those we need most. If we aren’t careful, our fellowship with the Lord will even suffer. Extreme adversity has the ability to “scatter” even the most faithful of believers.
Soon after Jesus spoke these words, the disciples experienced great difficulty. We cannot predict the future, but such difficulty may soon be reality for us as well. We live in a world filled with those who do not embrace the Gospel. Persecution is on the rise around the world, and it will likely find its way to America. As it does, we must be prepared for the difficulties we will face. Our only hope is to abide in Christ and in His Word.
B. A Time of Doubt (32a) – Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone. As Jesus continued to prepare the disciples for what lay ahead, He knew they would experience a season of doubt. The disciples would scatter into the night, leaving Jesus to face the mock trial and abuse alone. Such desertion would lead them to question their faith. They enemy would plant seeds of doubt in their minds, causing them to question if Jesus was in fact the Christ. They will eventually be tempted to abandon their faith all together and return to their old way of life.
Satan continues to use the same tactics today. He first seeks to isolate us from the Lord and fellow believers. During those seasons of isolation, he attacks our faith. He plants seeds of doubt, causing us to question the doctrines of the faith, and even our own salvation. Fleeing in fear, away from the Lord, is a vulnerable and dangerous place to be. Unfortunately, many never recover. They continue to wander alone, listening to the voice of dissension, and fail to live their lives for the Lord.
Such doubt and desertion will intensify as the trials of life and persecution increase within the world. When this time comes, and I am confident it will, those who lack a personal relationship with Christ will fall away quickly. As the struggles continue and worsen, even some devout believers will begin to question their faith and succumb to doubt and fear. They will question their faith and begin to wonder if it is worth it to continue for the Lord. I do not say that to create fear, but to cause us to consider what we may soon face. If we are to endure, we must prepare. Again, our only hope is to abide in Christ and in His Word.