“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
It is easy to assume that believing in Jesus means our problems disappear as if by magic. But nothing could be further from the truth. Here, Jesus tells us that we will have trouble in this world; we can expect to. Wars, pandemics, challenges with our neighbours, kids, parents, boss, church leadership, government, health, the health of our loved ones … the list is long.
But Jesus also tells us to take heart. Why? How can he be so sure that we can do this and be comforted, experience peace and be joyful in the midst of trouble? Because he has overcome the world. The forces of Satan are overcome. Jesus won! Now, of course, Satan doesn’t want us to remember that. But in every situation that we face, now and into the future, Satan has been overpowered. Sure, we still live in a world in which the forces of Satan exist — but the important — and only — thing to remember is that Jesus has overcome.
So, take heart. Take comfort in the reassurance of Jesus, “I have overcome the world”. And remember that he also instructs us not to be afraid. In John 6:20, when he walks on the stormy seas in the dark to the disciples who are alone and rowing a boat, he says, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” Jesus has overcome. It is him. Do not fear. Now. This day. This week. Ever. How awesome is our God!
Jesus, you told us that you have overcome the world. You say to us, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” Help me in my unbelief. Thank you that you have overcome the world. Thank you that you are with me and that I need not be afraid. As I go about today, this week and this year, remind me that you are my strength, my fortress, my God, and I need not be afraid. I can take heart because you have overcome. Thank you, Lord. Amen.