It was December 31, 1999, and the world was waiting with bated breath. Y2K was upon us and the news cycle was wall-to-wall coverage of what could happen when all computer clocks turn over from 1999 to 2000. In the end, it was either going to be the greatest disaster of our time or the greatest fakeout we’ve ever experienced. 

Amid all that tension building up among the guests at our home that night, my dad and I devised a plan for our New Year’s party that involved a well-timed flick of the power breaker. 

As the large crowd gathering in our living room chanted the countdown to the year 2000 I crept downstairs to make it a night to remember. When the voices reached “one” I reached for the switch and plunged the house into darkness. The sounds of gasps and screams filled the house as chaotic scenarios filled the minds of those in attendance…but then…light. 

As I flipped the switch back to it’s correct position I was relieved to hear the sounds of celebration and laughter as the true reality of the situation was made clear. There was no chaos, no destruction, and no need for all the canned goods that we had stored.

We were safe, secure, and filled with hope for the coming year. 

New Year. New Fears.

While not as dramatic as the year 2000, we have once again made the transition from one year to another and I wonder if some of us are still feeling that same tension and fear that comes with the unknown. You have not known that place of peace because to you 2024 seems daunting. You may be looking into the coming months with fear about finances, health, or marriage situations. Worries about the coming elections, social decay, and rumors of coming war consume your thoughts, making hope hard to find. 

While I would love to say that no suffering will befall you this year or that the results of this coming election will bring revival and stability, the reality is that I do not know what is around the corner. 

But, we do have the words of Jesus. 

“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.” John 16:33

Jesus is speaking these very words to a group of men who are about to experience the most traumatic event in all of history. They were about to witness the torture and death of Jesus himself. To them, Jesus was a friend and confidant. He was their teacher and guide. He was also their source of comfort as they saw his power in the healing of the sick, raising of the dead, and the quieting of storms. Jesus was their hope and their future, so when he was taken from them there was only fear. 

Fear of the unknown.

Bigger than the Unknown

Why did Jesus speak those words to the disciples in John 16? He was pointing them to a higher reality that did not deny the existence of struggle and suffering but looked beyond it to something greater. Jesus did not give them details on how to side-step hardship or mitigate pain. Instead, Jesus tells them to look to the one who overcomes everything the world may bring. It’s as if Jesus is grabbing these men by the shoulders, staring into their troubled eyes, and saying “I’ve got this.” 

The Son of God telling you he has overcome the world would be enough for us, but Jesus isn’t done. He then transitions immediately into his high priestly prayer where the disciples see firsthand the power and love of Christ as he speaks to his Father. Speaking of his disciples he prays:

“While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”  John 17:12-19

Imagine being the disciples and hearing Jesus speaking to Yahweh on your behalf. The Lamb of God, Son of Man, Messiah, and Lord asking the great I Am to give you joy, protect you from Satan, and to sanctify you. 

That, dear Christian, is why we do not have to fear what may come this year. That is the very reason we can enter 2024 with confidence and hope. The lights may flicker and the world may seem like it is ending, but the reality is that God reigns on high and he loves his children with an everlasting love. Just as this was the message to the disciples of the first century, so it is with us today. Jesus has spoken and He is bigger than the unknown. 

“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17:24-26

Mike Crump

Pastor of Church Communications

In his role as Pastor of Church Communications, Mike works to promote and resource ongoing ministry/events connected with the body here at Heritage. He also creates & distributes gospel-centered content (both physical & digital) among our wider congregation.