Highlands Blog

I Have Overcome the World

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Posted in Highlands Blog under Faith, Trinity (Persons of)

The earth in space. (I Have Overcome the World)

Jesus has left the building . . . and that’s a good thing.

I know that those two statements don’t seem to go together but that is basically what Jesus is saying to the disciples in what is commonly called the “Farewell Discourse” found in the Gospel of John, chapters 13–16.

A Troubling Announcement

In these chapters, Jesus isn’t healing anyone or speaking to the crowds or contending with the church leaders; He is spending the last hours of His earthly time with that rag-a-muffin band made up mostly of blue-collar men who have followed Him for three years and He is speaking intimately with them. They are told that soon He will be gone and, of course, their natural response is not a hurrah, but fear and sadness even though the Farewell Discourse begins with the words, “Let not your heart be troubled.”

I am sure that the disciples had grown pretty secure with having Jesus around. The crowds are hungry? Boom! Five thousand people fed from some kid’s lunch. Storm at sea? No problemo. Jesus will tell the winds and waves to “chill.” The Pharisees asking tricky questions? The Messiah turns their arguments into jokes and then delivers the punchline—it is hilarious! A wedding has run out of wine? Relax, sit back my friend and watch what happens next.

But now Jesus seems to be saying that the party is over and that that is a good thing. I don’t know about you, but I think that I would have a problem with my heart being troubled if He tried to sell me on the fact that His going away will be even BETTER for me than if He stayed.

A Fearful Future

Compounding their anxiety is the honesty of Jesus as He tells them what will happen next. On their part: one betrayal and across the board denials. From their own countrymen they are to prepare for hatred, alienation, persecution, and for some of their number, execution.

But again, Jesus tells them, Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. “Trust Me” are the two words that they will have to hear over the rapid beating of their own hearts.

Trust also allows them to hear Jesus’ last words in this address,

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

What an incredible statement. Without faith it would sound incredulous. But this is Jesus speaking here and He has been telling them that the world hates Him and will also hate them. He doesn’t even attempt to hide the fact that their lives are going to radically change for the worse and that they will have to face life without Him and with the memory that when things got bad, they forsook Him.

A World Overcome

But He also assures them that the party is not over, it has just moved to a new location. It is located, “in Me.”

Just as the storm raged, and the demons yelled, and the Sanhedrin gathered, and the money-changers were as thick as flies I was there with you and now you are “in Me.”

I have overcome the world—have peace.

I have overcome the world—be of good cheer.

Some will die.

You will have to hide.

The Romans will arrive soon.

The towers will fall.

The church will be scattered.

And many, many, years from now, the church in America will be faced with a presidential race led by two wicked and absurd nominees.

I have overcome the world—have peace.

I have overcome the world—be of good cheer.

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