It doesn't take a lot of time to figure out that life is complicated. Life is good. Life is worth living. But life, if anything, is hard. One of my favorite things about Jesus is the fact that He knows our hardships, our struggles, and our pains because He experienced them. "This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all the same testings we do, yet he did not sin" (Hebrews 4:15, NLT).
Not only does Jesus understand and know how hard life is, He knows more pain than we will ever experience.
Jesus took the physical punishment of the cross, He took our beating, was publicly mocked. We deserve to be stripped naked in front of everyone, paraded as a criminal, and nailed to a cross like Jesus was. Even worse than that, because of our sin, we deserve the punishment of separation from our Holy Father. There is no agony like the agony of being separated from all the light and good that this world has ever known. The Bible didn't record Jesus groaning and crying over the physical pain or the public humiliation. He cried out because His Father had turned His back on Him. Jesus willingly did this so that we never have to feel the full weight of our hard, sinful life under the wrath of our holy, perfect God.
Jesus, in all His overwhelming graciousness, didn't stop there. He overcame. He didn't just keep us from the punishment we deserved, or just die on the cross and go to heaven. He conquered death, the grave, and sin forever. Furthermore, when we recognize this truth about Jesus and surrender to Him, He exalts us as His own and gives us power as victors in His name.
So what does that mean for you and me in the thick of this hard life and all that it brings with it?
Every word documented from the mouth of Jesus is a word worth listening to, but you better believe I tend to lean in a little bit closer to hear what Jesus said just before He completed the most significant event in history. John 16 reveals some of the last things Jesus told His followers before His crucifixion. At the beginning of the chapter Jesus warned His followers of the hardships and persecutions to come. Then He lovingly explained that He would be going away, but that the Holy Spirit would come. For the disciples then, and for us now, this chapter holds truths that can be difficult to swallow, but everything hinges on verse 33. Jesus says, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world" (John 16:33, emphasis mine).
Life is hard and our salvation does not negate us from life's troubles. In the midst of life's mess, broken situations, imperfect relationships, and seasons of disappointment, we are met with the conquering power of Jesus Christ and the comforting peace of His Spirit. Jesus has endured and overcome every trial so that we can have peace and overcome. Praise God!
Is there an area in your life where achieving victory seems impossible?
Are you walking through a situation where you cannot seem to find peace?
Let’s lay the hardships of our life at the feet of the One who relates to us the best, and allow Jesus to conquer what we cannot. Ultimately, we can rest in Him as He floods us with the peace He alone can bring.