33 “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)
What things did Jesus tell them? Well, he basically told them that soon their grief would be turned into joy. Jesus had come from the father and was going back to him. ‘In a little while’ says Jesus ‘you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.’
The disciples quizzed Jesus and wanted to know what he was saying, of course now we get the full picture. Jesus was alluding to his death on the cross, and then his resurrection and ascension back to his Father in heaven. Jesus is telling his disciples this and explains that he is doing so (telling them about it) to fill them with peace because trouble is coming but Jesus has overcome the world. What does that mean? We know that trouble did come in the form of horrendous persecution and death for so many of these young disciples, Jesus wasn’t giving them a guarantee of ultimate safe passage without harm and conflict. So what was he saying then? He has overcome the world?
This ‘overcoming the world’ is like a victory that is assured, and something that has been accomplished already. Something then that stands outside of time in certain aspects because it hasn’t lost it’s impact and victory today for any and all who discover it. It was still just as relevant then for those early disciples.
So what does that really mean to you and me today? Well, I think the truth that Jesus has overcome the world means that not only in the moments of victory and the joys of this life can we know his true peace, but experience it also in the midst of pain, uncertainty and chaos.
This world would suggest that this is it, what you have now and can put around you is it, but Jesus has somehow overcome this idea. The world tells us that it’s ok to hate those that hate you and to get revenge when you’re wronged. Jesus has overcome this idea. The world tells us that money will be your security, better job, new car and cash in the bank will be all you need for a good life, Jesus has overcome this.
For me, there seems to be a sense here that even though difficulties come along, loneliness, separation, death, debt, health scares and well whatever, we can have an anchor or grounding in the fact that Jesus has overcome this stuff. He has achieved a victory that grants us peace during these storms that surge into our lives. That’s a massive comfort actually, because at times, (if we are really honest) we won’t always feel that gushing sense of peace, maybe it will just be a strong conviction that guides us and keeps us rooted. A peace that knows deep down Jesus has overcome this stuff, and we can know that freedom and peace even as this storm rages around us.
Image Credit: Matej Rieciciar