Reflection on ’Reformation Day, The Gospel of John 16:25-33: October 31, 2021

The Gospel of John 16:25-33

Peace for the Disciples

‘I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but will tell you plainly of the Father. On that day you will ask in my name. I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and am going to the Father.’ His disciples said, ‘Yes, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure of speech! Now we know that you know all things, and do not need to have anyone question you; by this we believe that you came from God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each one to his home, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.  I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!

Let us Pray: Almighty God, merciful Father, who made the light to shine out of the darkness, we thank You that You have shown mercy to us and our fathers, and by means of Your servant Martin Luther have restored the pure light of Your Gospel. Keep us, we ask You, in sound doctrine, that we may steadfastly believe and worthily follow Your saving Word, and finally, by its holy comfort, depart in peace and joy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The disciples needed to fully understand what Jesus was saying to them. They wanted to know, and then they thought they would feel at peace. Jesus had been speaking to them in figures of speech. Then He spoke to the plainly and they knew and understood that Jesus was indeed from God. They felt a sense of self-assurance because now they felt understood. This is so like us! We think that God has to explain what we’re going through and that then we’ll feel secure. Our peace wants to rest upon a certain knowledge of what is happening. But our Lord is very careful to point out that this kind of peace is very insecure indeed. You say you know who I am. You say you understand that I came from God and that I know all things. Do you know that within an hour’s time you will be so confused and so uncertain of what is happening you will run away and leave Me alone? Rather than trusting Me to work things out, you’ll forsake Me and not want to be identified with Me. How true that is today. When we think God has failed us, we run away, we ignore Him. We challenge events each day and ask ourselves why is God letting this happen, is He ignoring us? We all have gone through times of great personal stress and deep sorrow, times of uncertainty and lack of understanding, not knowing what God was working out, perceiving Him to be working in ways that I have thought were utterly wrong, thinking He had no business doing things like this to me. We needed to step back during these remarkable revelations of His Word. “You can have my peace”, Jesus says, my sense of security, which rests not in the circumstances, not in the understanding of the circumstances that we so crave, but in a confidence that the One who is guiding the circumstances knows what He is doing. That is where peace comes from. As we live each day and we face circumstances we don’t understand, we must be like the disciples. Look at the circumstances and believe that God knows what is going on and that the direction is a plan God has for us. If we thought we understood we would take credit for our own brilliance, rather than humbly seek the Lord for understanding. But we need to understand our own spiritual inadequacies and seek the Lord for insight. When the Lord shows us the light, we need to glorify Him, not ourselves. And the Lord knows how much we can bear at whatever stage of growth we’re in. As a patient teacher, He teaches us gradually as we’re able to learn.

Let us Pray: Generous God, we thank you for open hearts that were prepared to hear and receive the good news of freedom in Christ. We also thank you for our continued freedom in the Son to share that same news of salvation through your grace and Christ’s faithfulness. We pray in your Name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

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