Today’s passage: John 16:16–33
Focus verse: “Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
As Jesus continues his last instructions to his disciples, he talks of his departure, which his disciples will mourn, and the world will celebrate. But as a woman struggles through childbirth, and then rejoices over the birth of her baby, so too the disciples’ grief will turn into joy.
Jesus will see them again, which means they’ll see him again. No one will be able to steal their joy in Jesus. He continues to offer encouragement, mentioning answered prayer and Father God’s love for them.
The disciples start to understand. At last, they believe. This is a good thing because he has little time left to explain, so they better understand now.
He affirms their belief in him and warns they’ll soon scatter, each retreating to his own home. Though they will leave him, Jesus won’t be alone. His Father will stay.
Jesus says he’s telling them these things to give them peace. And even though the world will pile trouble upon them, “Don’t worry,” Jesus says, “I have overcome the world.”
Jesus wants them not to worry but to overflow with peace. By extension, he tells us the same.
Worry occurs when we look at our life from a human perspective. We see threats all around us, we feel the burden of living for Jesus in a world that is against him, and we combat an enemy set on causing us pain. These worries can weigh us down and rob us of our peace.
Yet, through God’s perspective, we can see through fresh eyes. We know how the story ends. We know that Jesus, through his ultimate sacrifice, has forgiven our sins and defeated the evil one. He has overcome.
Though we may not realize the full release that his victory gives us now, we will experience it completely as we persist in following him and being his disciple. This should fill us with peace.
Since Jesus has overcome the world, if we believe in him and follow him, we, too, can overcome our world through him. If we align with Jesus, we are on the winning side.
- When has your grief turned into joy?
- What should you do to keep worry at bay and not be overwhelmed by it?
- How should knowing that Jesus overcame the world affect you and your actions?
- How can you experience peace through Jesus?
- Do you feel you’re on the winning side? If not, what should you do?
Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.