A Word for Today | John 16:33
On the night of Jesus’ arrest, after sharing the Last Supper with His disciples, our Lord spoke words of comfort. Jesus knew that as soon as He was arrested a storm would break over the believers. He said: “The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home” (Jn. 16:32).
We also experience unexpected dangers and threats that may strain our faith. For many – Christians and non-Christians – the COVID-19 pandemic has arrived in this way, so that anxiety threatens to steal all peace from our hearts. It was for this reason that Jesus told His disciples: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace” (Jn. 16:33). Although Christians face trouble – greater troubles than we could handle ourselves – Jesus reminded us of the peace we gain through His Word.
Leon Morris describes a painting that depicts a storm beating against a rocky shoreline with waves crashing and foam flying high. A ship has been driven up against the rock and is falling apart, people falling into the deep. But in the foreground is seen a mighty rock with a crack in which a dove is nesting securely, the storm unable to reach it. This expresses Jesus’ gift of peace to us. Morris explains: “Believers are not immune to the storms of life. They must bear them. . . . But they are secure. The Rock of Ages is their sure refuge and there they have peace.”
Jesus qualifies his offer of peace in two ways. First, he says that we may have peace “in me”. Believers have peace only in Christ; he is the rock in the cleft in which we are secure. In Christ we enjoy peace with God, knowing that our sins are all forgiven. Believers also experience the peace of God, as the Holy Spirit works assurance and hope in our hearts. We gain this peace through prayer. Paul told us: “with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). If you have not turned to Christ in saving faith, this may explain the restlessness of your heart. If you are a believer, do not forget to take your anxieties to the Lord in prayer. The Savior who stilled the winds and the waves on the stormy sea will be able to give peace to your heart.
Second, Jesus says that believers gain his peace through the teaching of his Word: “I have said these things to you,” Jesus said, “that in me you may have peace” (Jn. 16:33). “These things” that Christ has said refers to the whole of what He taught them in the Last Supper – primarily that His Holy Spirit would be with them to give them God’s grace. Knowing Christ’s loving care gives peace to our hearts. Believers know that whatever else happens to us as we follow Jesus in life, our Savior will care for us, until He finally receives us into the home He has prepared for us in heaven (Jn. 14:3). What a source of peace His Words should give to every Christian heart!
In Christ’s Love,
 Leon Morris, Reflections on the Gospel of John (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1986), 563.