Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 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 (John 16:32-33).
As Jesus was walking along the road with his disciples, he was conscious of the heavenly Father’s presence. The prayer that follows in John 17 shows us how strong that consciousness was. Shortly afterwards, he would be in deep distress in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleading that the Father would remove the cup of woe from him. The next day, after enduring unimaginable cruelty, he would be forced to carry his cross to Calvary. Even there, to begin with, he was aware of the Father’s presence as is evidenced by his prayer to the Father to forgive the soldiers. The kind presence of the Father gave great comfort to Christ as he drew near the great darkness.
But when the Father’s presence changed from acts of kindness to inflicting wrath, Jesus lost this sense of comfort. Yet although Jesus went through this difficult experience, it did not prevent him from overcoming the world. His sufferings were the part to victory. Nor did it prevent him wanting peace for his disciples.
Jesus mentioned the Father’s love to them and his own mission on their behalf because he knew that they were going to experience great trials, both immediately and also in the future. When these troubles came, they would need a sense of divine peace in order to persevere. This peace would be theirs as they thought of the words that Jesus had said. In his teaching on this occasion he had told them about the activities of the Father and of the Spirit, as well as his own. Recollection of these descriptions would bring them peace. The content of this peace included knowing that the Father would love them and that Jesus had triumphed in the mission that he had been given. This is what gives courage and confidence to the disciples of Jesus.
We, too, will face trials of different kinds from the world. When that happens, we will find peace if we take seriously the words of Christ about all that the Trinity has done, is doing, and will do. The Father loves us, sanctifies us in order to produce fruit, and is going to share his home with us. The Spirit will be in us, instructing and guiding us, comforting and counselling us. The Saviour will be teaching us and preparing for us a home in heaven. These are some of the benefits that give peace to believers.