John chapter 16

I have overcome the world!

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. – Vs 33 NLT

In this chapter we have Jesus sharing some heavy and somewhat confusing news with His disciples. It is clear from the passage that they are having a hard time tracking with Him. They even say, “And what does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand” (Vs 18 NLT). Jesus has good news and bad news for them. The bad news is that the hour is coming when they will be considered outcasts from the synagogue. They’ll be excommunicated and unable to worship as they have all their lives. On top of that, they will be killed and those who do it will think they are doing God a favor. The good news is that Jesus assures them He is sending them a “helper.” They don’t know it yet, but this is a reference to the coming of the Holy Spirit. “And when he comes, he will convince the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment” (Vs 8 NLT). Jesus assures them that, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future” (Vs 13 NLT).

Then Jesus really confuses things by telling them, In just a little while I will be gone, and you won’t see me anymore. Then, just a little while after that, you will see me again” (Vs 16 NLT). He also tells them that the coming events will leave them weeping and mourning while the world rejoices, but their grief will turn to joy. He is clearly foreshadowing His crucifixion and death, as well as His resurrection. Finally, He tells them that because of what He is about to go through, they will have new power available to them. They will be able to pray in the authority of His name and receive whatever they ask for. They will have direct access to the Father because of what Jesus is about to accomplish on their behalf. While Jesus is going to be leaving them and returning to the Father, His departure will provide them with a reconciled or renewed relationship with the Father.

But Jesus’ last statement in this chapter is the most impactful one. He tells His disciples that “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows” (Vs 33 NLT). He basically assure them that the days ahead will not be easy ones – even after His resurrection. Yes, they will have access to the Father. Yes, they will have a divine Helper in the form of the Holy Spirit. Yes, they will be able to ask the Father for anything they need in Jesus’ name. But they will experience extreme pressure. That is what the Greek word used here for trials and sorrows means. It refers to “oppression, affliction, tribulation, and distress.” They are going to face some difficult days ahead. It is not going to be easy. And the book of Acts chronicles exactly what Jesus is prophesying. The apostle Paul testified to the reality of Jesus’ statement in his letter to the Romans: “Even the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’ No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (Romans 8:36-37 NLT). John also testified to the truth of Jesus’ statement. “For every child of God defeats this evil world by trusting Christ to give the victory. And the ones who win this battle against the world are the ones who believe that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4-5 NLT).

Jesus has overcome the world. Even though He had not yet died or been resurrected, Jesus confidently asserted that what He was about to do was as good as done. He was going to finish what He had come to do. And He did. He overcame the world. And because of that we can have the same confidence that Paul and John had. Overwhelming victory is our through Christ. We can win the battle against the world because we believe that Jesus is the Son of God. We can win. It is going to be hard, but we can win! We WILL win, because He has already won.

Father, I want to live with a sense of victory, not defeat. I want to live as an overcomer, not an underdog. Keep me focused on the words of Jesus. He has overcome the world. He has won the victory. It is just a matter of time before He sets everything right, but it WILL happen. Help me not to lose sight of that reality. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org