“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
In the 14th, 15th and 16th chapters of John, the Lord Jesus gives final words of warning, and especially words of comfort to His apostles. These chapters record the words of Jesus to the 11 after the last Passover New Testament disciples would scripturally observe, and the first Lord’s Supper. This tells us these words were spoken by Jesus the same night He was betrayed. The next day He would be crucified. The 17th chapter of John records, in my opinion, the greatest prayer of Jesus that’s on record for us. In that prayer He asked His Father to lead, guide, protect and bless His followers with truth. Knowing that His hour of suffering was at hand, His mind was still fixed on the ones He came to save.
As we read the words of Jesus in our text, and then consider the context of His impending death hours later, it’s seems somewhat odd for Him to say, “I have overcome the world.” To the unbeliever, the scoffer, or even one who loves Jesus but cannot see His victory in His death, it might well be thought the world overcame Him. It did not.
Jesus closes His final message before His death with these words, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Jesus tells us that the words of John 14-16 were spoken for this reason: “that ye might have peace.” That means I need to read these words, and believe these words. The end result is peace. Paul instructs us in Romans 5:1 that we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He would teach in Ephesians 2:14 that there’s now the ability for worship between Jew and Gentile because Jesus is our peace and removed the wall of partition between us. Thanks be to God that Jesus brought peace between God and man, and opened the way of peace to cultures of people that had long been divided.
Jesus goes on to juxtapose what we have in Him, and what we have in the world. In Him we have peace, in the world we have tribulation. He didn’t sugarcoat it. He didn’t lie. He made clear that this world would be a place of trouble and a cause of trouble for His beloved. We go from trouble to trouble in the world, but in Christ there’s an abiding peace for our hearts and minds when we believe His word, His promises. While Jesus doesn’t deceive us to think that if we follow Him all will be well in our world, He does remind us that in the middle of the trouble, we’re to be of good cheer. Why? He’s overcome the world. You see, in His death He wasn’t overcome, rather He overcame. He wrought the greatest military, medical, economic and psychological victory ever accomplished in all created history. He overcame our enemies: Satan, hell, the wicked, our sins and death. He overcame every sickness ever known, or ever to be known by man. He overcame every economic problem by giving us an inheritance in glory. He overcame every psychological attack on our minds by giving us the truth of the gospel of our salvation.
So we serve an Overcoming King, not a defeated pretender. And this King reigns at this present hour, and enemies are still being vanquished by His mighty power. Take heart, dear Christian, be of good cheer, your Captain Jesus Christ has overcome the world.
May He bless you with His peace,