Friday of Easter VI – John 16:23-33

23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

25 “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 of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Being a pastor means that sometimes families call you when a loved one is dying. I am glad they do. It is an important time for God’s Word to have a voice in the lives and the dying of people. If you have never been present as someone lies dying, I can tell you that dying can be a lot of work. It is hard. Humans are naturally filled with a desire for life, a desire which I have never heard a scientist adequately explain. But dying involves the forces of this world overcoming that desire and finally extinguishing that life. It can be a struggle for some people. I am glad that I can be there for them in their dying. More importantly, I am glad that through me and other Christians, Christ can be there in their dying.

Jesus makes a strong and wonderful promise to us in this passage, especially as we consider the struggle which we all have with this world, a struggle which eventually ends in our death. Jesus has overcome the world. Notice the tense of that verb. It is not that He will overcome the world. He has already done it. Our death, as real as it is, is also temporary. Jesus’ victory is an occasion for us to have peace.

As I have held the hands, prayed, and read Scripture with the dying and their families, I and they have also known peace despite that struggle. More than one old saint has told me of his or her longing to go home, to be at rest, to be done with this struggle. The natural body struggles against that death, but by faith we also have a peace with this. Jesus has overcome the world. Nothing can overcome Him, not even the grave.

He speaks plainly with us today. The disciples of Christ are glad. He speaks of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus, our Lord. We have peace and we take heart. He has conquered the world.

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