Neale Oliver

Jun 25 , Written By Neale Oliver

Be Courageous!

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

John 16:33

If you live long enough, you are going to face suffering - trials, tribulations, and tragedies. It’s just going to happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But what you can do is control how you react to those sufferings. Jesus says in John 16:33, “…in Me you may have peace.” So, in the world – suffering; in Jesus – peace. I wonder how some people get through the pains of life. Sometimes they don’t. What I’ve discovered is that my sufferings are only bearable when the Comforter and Counselor are by my side. Jesus says that when pain and suffering come (and they will come), you and I need to be courageous! Webster’s dictionary defines courageous in one word: BRAVE! Look at the list of synonyms Webster gives: bold, brave, fearless, gutsy, gutty, heroic, stalwart, stout, stouthearted, undaunted, and valiant. As Christians in the world, Jesus calls us to be courageous, bold, and fearless in our faith. Why? Because He has conquered the world. The victory is certain. John 13-16 is Jesus’ last message to the disciples before His death, resurrection, and ascension. So, He is preparing them for life after He is gone. Jesus knew it would take great courage for the disciples to preach the good news to the world. He knew they would pay the ultimate price. Acts 12:2 records that James was killed by the sword. The other apostles’ deaths are according to church tradition. Peter was crucified upside down in Rome. Matthew was killed by the sword in Ethiopia. Bartholomew, also known as Nathanael, was whipped to death in Armenia. Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross in Greece. Thomas was stabbed with a spear in India. Mattias, Judas’ replacement, was stoned and there beheaded. James, Jesus’ brother, though not officially an apostle, was thrown from the temple and then beaten with a club. Paul was tortured and then beheaded by Roman Emperor Nero in AD 67. This is not how they died, but the courage they had in their deaths. They all died believing that Jesus is the Savior of the world and that he resurrected from the grave. They would have known if Jesus did not truly rise from the dead. No one is willing to die for something they know to be a lie. The truth is, all the disciples suffered and died horrible deaths, refusing to renounce their faith in Jesus. They are powerful testimonies that Jesus is who He said He is, and He did all the things recorded in the Bible. So, be courageous. Like the apostles, you will have pain and suffering in the world, but one day you will leave this world, and step into peace with Him. And isn’t a little suffering now worth an eternity of peace with Jesus?

Blessings,

Pastor Neale

Prayer: Jesus, a little pain and suffering in this world will pale in comparison to the everlasting peace I will have with You in Heaven. You made my peace possible through Your pain on the cross. While I don’t say it enough, I say it now,

“THANK YOU!”

Neale Oliver