Preparing for the Worst

Posted: February 4, 2018 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 22:31-38, “Preparing for the Worst”

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. – The advice is so common that no one quite knows where the phrase originated. Some attribute it to Benjamin Disraeli, the British Prime Minister in the 1870’s, while others date it as far back as 1561 with the first tragic play written in the English language (“The Tragedie of Gorbuduc,” Thomas Norton & Thomas Sackville). Whoever said it first, it’s been said by many since. Be it a general during wartime, or a family preparing for hurricane landfall, the advice is sound. Hope and pray for the best of results, but prepare as if the worst is on the way.

The phrase does not originate in the Bible, but the idea is certainly Biblical. When the patriarch Joseph was Prime Minister of Egypt, he used the years of plentiful harvest to prepare for the years of famine that were coming. Centuries later, when a prophecy was given to Paul of his future arrest in Jerusalem, Paul was still determined to go – fully prepared to not only be arrested, but to die in Jerusalem, if need be. (As it turned out, he would survive for many more years.) These men & others prayed for the best, but they were prepared for the worst.

In a sense, that is what Jesus is doing with the apostles during His final evening with them after the Last Supper. Obviously Jesus knows the future in a way we cannot (apart from divine revelation), but He still prayed for His disciples, desiring the best for them. At the same time, He was fully aware of the worse situations that would come, and He wanted them to be prepared.

It’s important to keep in mind that this is indeed the final night that Jesus had with the disciples. Earlier in the week, Judas Iscariot had planned his conspiracy with the priests, having sold Jesus to them for a pitiful sum of money (30 pieces of silver was less value than a common slave). Jesus knew of the evil planned against Him, yet His own plans did not change. He didn’t go into hiding – He didn’t flee from Jerusalem. Instead, He was wise with the time that was remaining, but still celebrated the Passover with His disciples, just as He had always planned to do.

As it turned out, it was a Passover Seder the disciples would never forget, as Jesus changed the traditional wording of the ritual to show how it pointed to Him. He Himself is the Passover sacrifice – the one whose body was broken and whose blood was shed for the sins of the world. At the same time Jesus did all of this, He warned the disciples once more about the betrayal amongst them that would lead to His arrest and death. 

To no surprise, this got the disciples talking. One moment they’re truly concerned that any one of them might commit such a heinous act of evil, while the next moment they’re arguing about who among the 12 is the greatest of all. Chastising their foolishness, Jesus called them to humility, giving the example of Himself as the One who serves. They (and we) are called to be servants, just like Jesus. It’s up to God to give greatness, and He will do so in His way & His time in His kingdom.

It’s after all of this that Jesus prepares the 11 remaining disciples for the events soon to come. First up would be Peter, who to his dismay, would need to be prepared for the unthinkable: a denial of his Lord and Master. Yet Peter wouldn’t be the only one who would struggle through tribulations in the future – all of the disciples would face hardship and temptation at some point. They needed to be prepared for their trials. They needed to pray for the best, but prepare for the worst.

The good news is that Jesus was there to help them get ready – all they needed to do was listen, believe, and be obedient. Likewise with us. Just like Jesus prepared His disciples, He prepares us. Listen to Him!

Luke 22:31–38

  • Preparation for Denial (31-34)

31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.

  1. The Passover meal may have ended, but Jesus’ time with the disciples that evening went on. Jesus only had a limited time left, and He took advantage of every second. One of the ways He did was to prepare Peter (and all of the disciples for the things that awaited them over the next several hours, and one of the worst was regarding Satan’s “prayer” for Peter. It might seem strange to us that Satan appealed to God, but that’s apparently what happened. Technically, this is less of a prayer than a demand. The Greek word is an emphatic form of asking, the same form of the word used in other literature to “demand the surrender of” certain enemies (TDNT). IOW, Satan wasn’t asking nicely, saying “pretty please” – he was vehemently demanding an opportunity to put Simon Peter to the test and grind him like a kernel of wheat.
    1. Satan didn’t just make his demands for Peter; he wanted all of the disciples. When Jesus said “Satan has asked for you,” the “you” is plural. Satan asked for “all of you.” He already found success with Judas Iscariot, and wanted to do the same with all of them. Peter was simply first in his sights.
  2. Though it’s a demand, it’s still something Satan had to request of God. No matter how much the devil rebels against the Lord, God is still sovereign over the devil. This is evident in the book of Job, where Satan is shown being severely limited by God on how much the devil was allowed to attack Job. It is evident throughout the gospels, when the demons are forced to flee at the command of Jesus. At first glance, it might seem strange – if Satan is so rebellious, why wouldn’t he just do what he wanted, despite whether or not God agreed? But when we think about it, it makes sense. God is completely sovereign over the world. He is the Creator, and it is His creation…including the devil. Because the devil is just as much a created being as everything else, he cannot do more than what God allows. Satan may have a bit of freedom to rebel, but his freedom is limited. 
  3. Even so, we are still at war against the devil. The things Simon Peter were about to face were true battles, but they weren’t going to be one with swords and knives; they could only be fought with prayer and faith. He had a true enemy desiring to take him down – the most powerful enemy imaginable! Satan personally took an interest in the apostles. He was looking to take them down. This hasn’t changed. Satan still wants to destroy the church of Jesus Christ, and he gets personally involved (though in ways we cannot see). Christians face spiritual battles every day, and we need to be prepared for them. The devil (or more likely, his demonic minions) will attack us every chance they get.
    1. How do we fight a spiritual battle? Through spiritual means. Paul, when writing to the Ephesians about the wars we face against demonic powers and principalities (rather than the physical rulers of this world), told them to take up the full armor of God: Ephesians 6:14–18, “(14) Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (15) and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (18) praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—” Is it literal armor? No – Paul writes in an extended metaphor using figurative language. But the battle is real, and so is the protection offered by God. Jesus does not leave us unprepared for the trials we face. Confronted by lies, we remember that we are grounded in the truth, clothed in the righteousness of Christ. We hold fast to our faith in Jesus, no matter what is thrown at us, protected by our salvation, and fighting back with the word of God and prayer. Satan may want to sift us, but our Jesus has already saved us – and He has given us everything we need to hold up during the worst battles of our lives.
  4. The apostle certainly would face a battle, and it wouldn’t be one in which he’d leave unscathed. Note: it’s “Simon”; not Peter. We want to be careful not to make more of this than what it is, but it’s interesting that when the apostle spoke in faith, Jesus gave him the name Peter; when he acted in his flesh, it was “Simon,” more often than not. Peter hadn’t yet spoken a word, but Jesus knew what was coming – both in the ensuing argument, and in the next several hours. Simon Peter would act less like Peter, and more like Simon. We’ve all been there – we’ve all had times when we’ve reverted back to our flesh. Simon Peter was simply the first among us as the church to do it.
  5. Even so, Jesus still loved him and prayed for him. 32…

32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

  1. How marvelous are those words: “But I have prayed for you.” Technically, this could be translated as an emphatic, “but I myself have prayed for you / on your account.” Jesus prayed for Simon Peter…personally. No doubt Peter would have welcomed the prayers of his friends and family. He would have been grateful for the prayers of faithful men and women who truly knew the Lord God. But in this case, Peter didn’t have their prayers – nor did he need them. He had the prayers of Jesus Christ Himself! Jesus lifted the needs and coming trials of Peter directly to the throne of God the Father. God the Son interceded on behalf of His friend and disciple. You can’t ask for a better prayer partner than that!
    1. This is what Jesus does continually for all His people. His work of sacrifice is complete, just as Jesus declared from the cross, “It is finished.” But Jesus hasn’t stopped working. He constantly labors in prayer for all those who believe in Him, and follow Him as Lord. Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” What does that mean? It means that if you follow Jesus as Lord, then Jesus prays for you. It means that when you face your spiritual battles, that you’re never alone – you aren’t the only one praying. If you don’t have a single other person prayer with you, you still have God the Son interceding on your behalf. And it’s not just the Son – God the Spirit prays for you as well. Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” As a believer in Jesus Christ, you have two members of the Trinity praying directly to God the Father on your behalf. Again – we cannot ask for better prayer partners!
    2. Christian, this ought to give you confidence! We will face terrible battles and trials. But we do not face them alone and unguarded. Our God has never taken His eyes off us, nor has He ever ceased praying for us. He will see us through!
  2. For what reason did Jesus pray? That Peter’s “faith should not fail.” Because we know what happened regarding Peter’s denial, it would be easy to read this and think at first glance that Jesus’ prayers were unsuccessful. Since Peter denied the Lord, not just once but three times, then surely Peter failed, right? Not quite. Peter experienced failure (no doubt!), but that wasn’t what Jesus prayed. Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail – or to get the sense of the Greek word, that Peter’s faith would not die out/cease to exist. It’s one thing to have a failure with temptation, or to seriously trip up in our walk with Christ; it’s another thing to have our faith die out altogether. Jesus’ prayer for Peter was that despite his failure, that Peter’s faith would endure. Simon Peter’s experiences in faith might dwindle from a blaze to a single candle flame, but Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not be extinguished.
    1. Question: Can the faith of a believer fail? Can someone’s faith truly die? This is a subject of much debate, with solid, studied, Bible-believing Christians able to quote Scriptures on either side of the issue. The problem with the debate is that it’s debating the wrong question. The question isn’t “How much can I screw up before I’m in danger of losing my salvation?” – it ought to be, “How close can I walk with Jesus to ensure I avoid this sort of failure altogether?” We ought to be less interested in how much ability we have to sin and still be considered “Christian,” and more interested in how much more we can know and walk with our Lord and Savior. People who want to know much permission they have to sin against Jesus probably ought to closely examine their faith to see if they even know Jesus. Those who know Him want to be with Him. Those who know Him grieve at the thought of sinning against Him. Those who know Him have their hope of salvation so firmly grounded in Him that true failure of faith isn’t an option.
  3. So Peter would experience a failure, but his faith wouldn’t fail. This had been Jesus’ prayer, and He was certain of the answer. In fact, Jesus was so sure of His answered prayer, that He spoke positively of Peter’s return! It’s not “if you return to Me,” but “when you have returned to Me.” There was no question in Jesus’ mind that the faith of Simon Peter would not die. The apostle would be shaken, but not totally sifted. Jesus had confidence not only in His own prayers, but in Simon Peter himself. After all, Jesus had a job for Peter upon his return: “strengthen your brethren.” Simon Peter’s failure, though not welcome, would enable Peter to do something he would not have been able to do otherwise: be a strength to the other disciples when they encountered similar situations in the future. Simon Peter, perhaps better than many of the other disciples, would understand the depth of the forgiveness and grace offered by Jesus. All of the disciples had been forgiven when they first began following the Lord (Matthew the tax collector being a prime example), but there isn’t any Biblical record of them stumbling away from Jesus to the extent that Peter did after they knew the Lord. Simon Peter did. He failed in a massive, foundational way. Yet Jesus received him back, forgave him his failure, and put him back into the ministry. There’s no question that Peter understood the grace of Jesus! That put him into a prime position to be a strength to others, when they encountered failures of their own in the future.
    1. Nobody wants to fail. None of us want to stumble or otherwise screw up in our walk with Jesus. Far better to heed the warnings and walk in obedience, than to hang our heads in sorrow asking for forgiveness. But when we do, how wonderful it is to be a strength and comfort to someone else struggling with the same situation! (Maybe that’s you…)
  4. So that was Jesus’ gracious warning. What was Peter’s response? 33…

33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”

  1. It’s not the first time Peter argued with the Lord, though it may have been the last. Simon Peter denied that he would deny Jesus. “No way, Lord! Not me. Everyone else may fail, but I won’t!” Sound familiar? How many times have we all puffed up ourselves and our own ability to stand strong in the face of temptation? Only later do we understand how foolish it is to use our fleshly strength to fight fleshly trials. In ourselves, we are utterly weak; it is in Christ that we are strong, being more than conquerors over tribulations and distress (Rom 8:35-37). It is His strength and power we need. When writing of his own trials, Paul never once bragged how he was stronger than the things he faced. Whatever strength he had to face whatever trials were before him, that strength came from Christ alone (Phil 4:13). Likewise with us!
  2. Despite Peter’s denial, Jesus knew the truth, and gave a very specific prophecy of what would happen later that evening/morning. Simon Peter wouldn’t have his faith knocked out by Satan, but he would certainly get knocked down. Peter would deny even knowing the Lord Jesus, not just once, but three times. Faced with the possibility of being caught up in Jesus’ same trials and persecutions, Simon Peter would buckle to fear, and all of his macho bragging would be exposed for what it was.
  3. Keep in mind, this isn’t Jesus berating or chastising Peter; Jesus is simply stating the facts. Jesus knows that Simon Peter will be repentant & soon return to his former position of faith among the apostles, but he will experience massive failure and disappointment along the way. There wasn’t any use arguing with the Lord about it. After all, He’s God & we’re not. He knows the future & we don’t. We’re human, thus we’re weak. That’s just the way we are. Jesus doesn’t blame us for our weaknesses; He died for them. He loves us and wants to restore us. We just need to believe Him, take Him at His word, and submit ourselves to Him.
  4. FYI – there is a bit of variation among the gospel accounts as to how many times the rooster would crow. Matthew, Luke, and John all mention one crowing; Mark mentions two. Is this a contradiction? Nowhere is it recorded that Jesus claimed in one book that the rooster would only crow once, and no more. We need to be careful not to make the prophecy say something it doesn’t. Jesus is simply prophesying about the sounding of the rooster. That rooster would call Simon Peter back to the validity of Jesus’ prophecy – it would wake him up out of his fleshly stupor. The gospels do not contradict one another on that point. If anything, the three later gospels (Matthew, Luke, and John) back up and summarize the earlier gospel (Mark). After all, if a rooster is going to crow twice, it’s going to at least crow once. Where Mark was specific, the other three were generic.
  5. Don’t miss the main point! Simon Peter would fail, but his failure would not be the end. Jesus knew what would happen, and He was preparing Peter for what he would face. Simon Peter may not have listened too well that evening, but there’s no question he remembered later!
  6. Jesus didn’t prepare only Simon Peter; He prepared all of the disciples that evening. 35…
  • Preparation for Departure (35-38)

35 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.”

  1. Jesus had sent out the disciples twice before. The first was just as the 12 (with the inclusion of Judas Iscariot – Lk 9:1-6); the second was a larger group of seventy (Lk 10:1-12). In each instance, Jesus commanded that the groups take nothing with them. “Carry neither money bag, knapsack, nor sandals; and greet no one along the road,” (Lk 10:4). They were to go without personal provisions and without daily distractions. They were official emissaries of the King of kings, and they were to trust in His provision for them along the way.
  2. They could, and they did – and God proved Himself faithful. They lacked nothing on their journey, and were successful in preaching the gospel to the masses, even experiencing miracles of healings and demon exorcisms. God equipped them for every situation they faced, and they could rejoice. Most of all, they could rejoice that their names were written in heaven (Lk 10:20) – but they could still rejoice that God chose to use them for His glory and His kingdom purpose.
  3. Yet something was changing. 36…

36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.

  1. What changed? Not the mission; only the circumstance. Before, they had been sent out by Jesus, and would return to Jesus. This time, when Jesus sent them out, He would ascend to heaven, and they would no longer be able to physically return to Him. Everything the disciples had ever known was about to change! For nearly three years, they had walked and lived with Jesus, witnessing His miraculous power and hearing His authoritative teaching in His presence. No longer. Although the twelve always had difficulty believing it, Jesus would soon be arrested by the Jews, delivered to the Romans, and crucified to death. Yes, He would rise from the dead and return to them (praise God!), but even then, Jesus wouldn’t remain with them for long. Spiritually speaking, Jesus would be with them until the end of the age (Mt 28:20), but physically speaking, Jesus was leaving. This time, when the disciples were sent out, they wouldn’t be able to return to home-base with Jesus. Like a kid learning to ride a bike, the training wheels were being taken off, and the disciples were expected to go out on their own with the gospel and thrive. (And they would! So can we!)
  2. Don’t miss this point! It is only the circumstances that have changed. They are entering a new phase of ministry, but that’s it. Don’t get the idea that because Jesus’ instructions for them changed, that God did. Certainly not! God is the same yesterday, today, and forever! His ability to provide is no less than before. God’s love for them is no less, nor is His ability to protect them. The only difference is that God will protect and provide for them in different ways. This time, they wouldn’t be returning home. They were expected to go out into all the world, making disciples of all the nations (Mt 28:19). It would take them a little while to actually get the point & head outside of Jerusalem (not until Acts 8, under the hardship of persecution!), but they would do it, and the world was never the same.
    1. Christian: is there any question that 100% of your provision comes from God? Of course not. Is there any doubt that the Lord Jesus is with you, helping you? That the Holy Spirit empowers you & protects you? Our God has not changed! He is just as active and involved with us as He ever was with the original apostles. The one change between us and them is the physical presence of Jesus. Today, He sits in victory at the right hand of God, having conquered sin & death. Today, we have the benefit of a completed sacrifice, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit – something the disciples did not have during their three years with Jesus. Certainly, they cherished those original days with Him, but they wouldn’t have given up the days that came after. Nor would we!
  3. Notice one other major change in the items mentioned by Jesus. Before, He spoke of money bags, knapsacks, and a change of sandals. Here, He repeats the money bags and knapsacks (and likely assumes the sandals), but there is an addition of a sword. For the first time in their three years with Jesus, He speaks of a physical weapon. It would be as if Jesus told modern disciples today to go purchase a handgun. No doubt it was shocking, but it certainly underscored the point that things were going to be different! The future held many dangers for the disciples, and they needed to be ready for it.
  4. All of this is predicated on the idea of the circumstances changing. Because times have changed, the disciples needed to prepare for that change. How can we know it was only a change in circumstances? Because Jesus said so. 37…

37 For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”

  1. Things were at “an end.” The same word Jesus later spoke from the cross declaring all things to be finished was used here (though in a different grammatical form). All things written of Him, at least in this first phase of His incarnate ministry, were almost at their completion. Not that there weren’t numerous prophecies left to be fulfilled in the next several hours – there were many! The sheep of Jesus would be scattered (Zech 13:7), Judas Iscariot would throw his pitiful profits back into the temple (Zech 11:12-13), Jesus would experience the horrendous pain of crucifixion, having been rejected by the people, and have His clothing gambled away by the Roman soldiers (Ps 22), among many other things. 
  2. The particular prophecy here comes from Isaiah: Isaiah 53:12, “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.” The entire 53rd chapter of Isaiah speaks of Jesus – this particular prophecy giving specific details as to the nature of His death. Jesus, though the King of kings and true hero of all the universe, would not die the death of a hero; He would die the death of a traitor, alongside other criminals. Crucifixion was as punishment reserved for the worst of the worst, and although Jesus never committed a single sin, this was the death He received. Why? Because for God’s purpose in Him to be accomplished, that was precisely the death that was required. Jesus didn’t die for His sins; He died for ours. He died for every sin of all humanity – so yes, His death was the death reserved for the worst of criminals, for that is what we are.
    1. Consider that for a moment: Jesus died the death of a criminal, for you. He died the death of a criminal for me. Shouldn’t that fact change the way we think about sin? During those times you are most tempted to ease back into your flesh – those times that you consider a temporary slip, knowing that you’ll later ask forgiveness – remember what Jesus did for you. Remember how He died, and for what reason He died. The fact that the eternal Son of God died on our behalf ought to be sobering enough, but the type of death He died makes all the more impact. Jesus, though innocent, died with the transgressors, having all our transgressions upon Him. He became sin on our behalf, in order that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21).

38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”

  1. Some criticize the disciples here, saying that they misunderstood Jesus, that when Jesus spoke of a sword, He spoke figuratively. That what Jesus was really saying is that the gospel message would encounter opposition, and the apostles needed to be ready for that kind of internal struggle. Thus when the disciples pulled out two literal swords, Jesus chastises them & basically tells them to change the subject. The problem is that this interpretation reads a lot into Jesus’ words that isn’t necessarily there. After all, if part of what Jesus mentioned was to be figurative (a sword), then the rest of what He mentioned ought to be figurative as well (a money bag, and knapsack) – yet this is obviously not the case. The apostles did need to take provisions with them on the road – this was very practical instruction from Jesus. So if the first items were literal, so was the last.
  2. Most likely, the disciples understood exactly what Jesus said, and Jesus simply agrees with them. He told them to acquire a sword, and they already had two in their midst. That was enough for what was needed. It underscores the point that the sword was for protection; not assault. Sure enough, there would be a misunderstanding later that night when Peter tried to protect Jesus from being arrested, foolishly (and incompetently) throwing around a sword, cutting off the ear of a slave (vs. 50). But that’s not why Jesus told them to get a sword. It wasn’t to stop Jesus from going to the cross & fulfilling God’s purpose – it wasn’t to force people to “convert” to Christianity, under penalty of death (as was the whole spread of the Islamic religion). It was simply to protect the disciples along the road. These were tools of defense; not assault. It was simple protection from the unexpected.
  3. Technically, these weren’t even tools to shield them from persecution. Not once do we find the apostles physically fighting against the Jews or Judaizers who came against them in the book of Acts. The Bible shows the fact that the disciples had a couple of swords, but the only time we find those swords used is during the next several hours when Jesus was arrested. That’s it. It seems that Jesus recommended the swords for protection during sudden attack, if they were ambushed by robbers along the road, or some other similar situation. They weren’t to fight those who persecuted them; they were to pray for them. The resistance we offer against those who would do us harm for our faith is not violence and blood; it is the witness of the gospel. Matthew 5:43–46, “(43) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ (44) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, (45) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (46) For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” Keep in mind those words are not simple suggestions and good thoughts from Jesus; these are clear instructions from our Lord & Master. Nor are they instructions for merely others, those under Him. Jesus followed through on this Himself. When Jesus was arrested, no swords were required – He could have called down legions of angels in His defense. Technically, Jesus didn’t even need the angels; He could have willed His enemies out of existence! Yet Jesus did not resist a single hand that came against Him. He even literally prayed for His enemies while hanging from the cross. That is the example we follow. The best weapon against persecution isn’t a gun; it’s prayer.

Conclusion:

Were troubles coming? Yes. Would they be the end? Absolutely not. Jesus wanted His disciples to be fully prepared for the things they were about to face. Simon Peter would soon face the harshest spiritual attack of his life. The whole group of the disciples would encounter trials & tribulation, and they would soon do so without the physical assurance of having Jesus at their side. They needed to be ready for these things, so Jesus prepared them.

Having faith in Christ doesn’t exempt us from trials. Simply because we’re saved doesn’t mean that we will never have a tough day again for the rest of our lives. On the contrary – Jesus is very clear about the things that His disciples (both the 12 and all of us) will face as we walk with Him. The same night He told the apostles about these things, He also told them, “in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (Jn 16:33) Did Jesus promise trials? Yes – but He didn’t leave us unprepared for them.

The good news? Just like Jesus prepared Simon Peter and the other disciples, He prepares us. Just like Jesus prayed for them, Jesus prays for you. Just like Jesus died for their failings, He died for ours. Do we have trouble? Yes – but Jesus overcomes them all.

Listen to the warnings of Jesus, in order that you don’t falter in your faith when the troubles hit. When people get disillusioned with Christianity, often it’s because they came in with false expectations. They believed that Jesus would make them healthy & wealthy, and that they’d never have a dark day the rest of their lives. Then the spiritual battles hit, and they’re left gasping for air wondering what happened. Don’t let that happen to you. Listen to Jesus, and be ready for the things of this world. After all, you won’t be going through it alone – Jesus is praying for you all the way.

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