Probably one of the most disturbing things in life, at least for a man, is the feeling of not being in control. And, there are plenty of situations in life which are beyond our control. For example, we can’t control the weather. We can take steps to minimize the effects of weather, but we don’t control it.
We can’t control the economy. A lot of people are suffering because of the melt-down in the home mortgage markets.
We can’t always control our health. There are several in the congregation who are facing very serious health problems.
There are plenty of other areas in our lives which we don’t control. When you stop and think about it, we live in a very uncertain world. For a lot of people, this lack of control and uncertainty really causes a lot of stress.
What’s the antidote to the uncertainty and stress? In Philippians chapter 4, verses 6 and 7, Paul writes, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) From this we can see that one of the keys to coping with what the world throws at us is to pray about it. God may, or may not, change our circumstances but, when we pray about our circumstances, He will give us peace.
What Paul writes in Philippians is really just a practical example of what Jesus Himself said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (NIV)
But how does this work? What’s the mechanism? Shortly before His crucifixion Jesus told His disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
“I have overcome the world” When Jesus was crucified it sure didn’t look like it. From a human point of view it didn’t look like He any any control at all over what was happening to Him. But He did. On the Sunday morning after His death it became obvious that He really had overcome the world. The world had thrown its worst at Jesus but it couldn’t keep Him in the grave. He rose to life again.
One of the reasons we gather each week is to remember that Jesus overcame the world. It is because He overcame, and because He allows us to share in His victory that we can know peace. The bread that we eat and the juice that we drink remind us of a lot of things. One of them is that Jesus overcame. He rose from the dead.
We can’t control what goes on in the world, or even in our own lives. But the communion reminds us of the fact that Jesus is in control. Because He is in control, Paul was able to write, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13 NIV)
As we take the communion today, let’s remember that Jesus has already overcome the world. In Him we find the strength to face the uncertainties in the world.