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.  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.”
As a reminder we’re walking through the Gospel of John and are now near the end. We’ve seen Jesus come on the scene and John the Baptist announce his coming. We’ve seen Jesus perform miracles and healings and even raise people from the dead. We’ve also seen him clearly communicate that He’s the Messiah, God in the Flesh, the great I Am. Now as we near the end he’s finishing his final conversation with the disciples and preparing to face the Cross. Let’s pick up in John 16 verse 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.  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;  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, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech!  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.”  Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?  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.  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.”
A tough passage to consider right? Not that it’s necessarily difficult to understand, but the truth revealed here is something we experience and speak of often. “You will have tribulation” and that’s easy to focus upon. I make sure to communicate here that following Jesus won’t fix every earthly trouble you’ve ever had, but like I said last week, it’s worth it and even better than we can imagine. I do think one of the hallmarks of a good church and good Christian’s is authenticity. The ability to convey what is real, to be real and vulnerable and transparent even in the midst of life. I joke about it some but you get it, right…..? “How are you today? Fine” right? Fine. That’s not to say that everyone is lying when they say that, and honestly sometimes it’s not wise nor practical to pour out everything in your life that is going wrong in front of the world. Sometimes we just don’t feel like it and we need God’s grace to get us through the day, let alone feeling like we have to pour out our hearts in confession. Sincerely I’m glad we can understand these things and have empathy for one another. As I planned sermons in the past few weeks I thought this sermon would be on this exact verse and I was right; however as I studied and prayed it has come to mean something that I wasn’t focused upon. You see….there will be trials and tribulations, but take heart; I have overcome the world.
Again, as we see what we can learn from the passage let’s remember. He’s with his disciples and they’ve been following him these 3 plus years and He’s been telling them that he would have to leave them, but they haven’t understood…and before we’re too hard on these fellas let’s remember that we don’t always “get it” and we don’t always learn our first time through and we too struggle with our faith and circumstances, our flaws and our emotions do override what we know to be true; especially when things are dark or difficult.
In all fairness Jesus has been speaking figuratively many times for everyone who can hear to help them understand and ease into this understanding of how God works and it’s more difficult for the disciples to understand likely because they couldn’t have handled the fact that he would die on the cross and would have tried to interfere just as Peter does when he tells Jesus he won’t let him die. ….but Jesus says I’ve been speaking figuratively and now it’s time for plain speech. No more illustrations and stories to help you get the point…the big picture, I’m gonna give it to you straight. Remember he’s washed their feet to show them humility and servanthood and he’s used the vine and the branches to describe their relationship with the Father, so all good things that help (we all need things like that to help us not miss the forest for the trees right?) But again, time is short and he’s going to be more direct. Direct about what?
 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”
I’m going away to the Father. I’m leaving you.
He’s been telling them this all along. Sometimes he’s just said I’m from the Father, sometimes he’s just said I’m sent to the world from the father, sometimes he’s just said I’m returning to the father. This time he’s making sure they understand it all together. He’s from God, sent into the world and now he’s returning home (to the right hand of the father)
They responded this way.
 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech!  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.”
Oh!!! You’re really him, really the sent one, who knows everything we see and know and now we really believe. Good Jews knew the only person who knows everything is God, so they’re saying He’s God.
Sounds pretty good right? Not really. Look at how Jesus responds.
 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? *(You believe at last! NIV)
So you’ve been with me all this time and seen all of these miracles and teachings (walked on water, calmed the storm, cast out demons) and I say this one thing and you finally “get it”?
You see they knew to believe , they just had shallow or even waivering faith. Note that they will continue to have it until they see the resurrected Jesus. This gospel has told us about the storms of life and our battles and that they will come and they’re real and that the real battle is bigger than that though….it’s our shallow faith. You see as it’s clearly said here (I have overcome the world). So back to my statement “if Jesus is real and who He says he is, then that changes everything” Their problem and our problem is the same. We kinda believe. We believe he’s the only one when cancer shows up, and war breaks out and my relationships are disintegrating….but he’s not necessarily the only one when I want to do what I want to do, right? I mean if I want to exchange this wife or husband for a newer model then it’s about my needs….If I want to party all weekend because I work hard and I should be able to play hard even with my hangover and lay out of work Monday because you just don’t know my boss………then it’s about my needs right? I mean life liberty and the pursuit of happiness is owed me right? Let me make sure you don’t confuse your citizenship in a free country with your faith in the one who says “Be Holy for I am Holy” right? I guess the difference is shallow faith or deep faith. Thankfully God is gracious and He bears with us while we grow (and he bears with us when we don’t but that’s more painful). Back to our passage
Even though Jesus says “now you believe?” As always he’s grace filled and as the OT says…filled with steadfast love
 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.  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.”
So….fellas it’s about to get really rough. So scary that you will scatter, you will run away from me and run scared back home to leave me to face this alone. Except……with the bad news… here’s our best part. Jesus says “I am not alone because the Father is with me”. I’m telling you so that you will have peace (eiréné)
Peace – 1) a state of national tranquillity 1a) exemption from the rage and havoc of war 2) peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord 3) security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous) 4) of the Messiah’s peace 4a) the way that leads to peace (salvation) 5) of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is 6) the blessed state of devout and upright men after death
How can we have peace amidst trial and tribulation (inevitable)?
33b ..”But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Take heart means be courageous, cheer up and it’s only spoken of in the NT by Jesus….So how can we do this….our passage tells us. Jesus wasn’t alone and he has overcome the world and we are not alone.
NT Wright says “the last word here isn’t one of warning. It’s one of good cheer. Somehow even in the worst that is to come, the disciples can have peace that will carry them through. This peace doesn’t come from a detached philosophical attitude. It isn’t a matter of saying, “Oh, well, these things happen.” It isn’t a shrug of the shoulders, resigning yourself to the world being a nasty place and there being nothing much you can do about it. It’s a matter of standing your ground that Jesus is going to win – indeed he claims to have won already. “In the world you will have trouble. But cheer up; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus wasn’t alone when his disciples left him and the Father won’t abandon you either. Even in the darkest day, the darkest hours, knowing all your stuff, your history, your struggles your sin. He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
1 John 4:4
 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Even if you think you are…you are not alone. Take heart.