"His disciples said, 'Ah, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure! Now we know that you know all things, and need none to question you; by this we believe that you came from God.' Jesus answered them, 'Do you now believe? The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.'"
This is such a rich passage, it's hard to know where to begin. Jesus' initial words to His disciples are sobering, to be sure. The disciples have just expressed their exuberant faith in Him, but Jesus knows what's going to unfold during the next few hours. When Jesus is arrested and the chips are down, His disciples will abandon Him, deny that they even know Him. When being a follower of Jesus suddenly means weird looks, ridicule, and the possibility of persecution, Jesus' most loyal friends and followers will lose any sense of loyalty to Him. And we think, How sad.
I do this all the time, though. For all my idealism and big talk from the safety of my blog, my life is often one big denial of Christ. I don't like weird looks or ridicule -- real or imagined -- so I keep my mouth shut most of the time and effectively abandon Jesus. It's so easy to silently conform to the norms of a secular culture which sees religious belief as foolish at best. It's so easy to acquiesce to the ways of the world. It seems so inevitable. Who am I to go against the grain, to stand up and speak out against the anti-Christian sentiments of an "enlightened" society?
I have to remember that, luckily, I'm not alone, and that the decisive battle has already been won. Jesus has overcome the world.