Online Articles

Online Articles

John 16:33


Today mankind is bombarded with tragedy and outright evil on a regular basis. On December 12, 2012 an evil man murdered 20 young children and six staff members trying to protect their students.  Mass killings in our schools, terrorism threatening our sense of security, and natural disasters seem to be regulars on the news. Both the believer and the nonbeliever can easily be overwhelmed with fear and grief as a result of these incidents.

As believers we also face our own hardships. Fortunately we are spared much living in the United States. However, as there is an apparent erosion of values in this nation we increasingly find ourselves labeled as small-minded or even bigots. To denounce any individual or practice conflicting with Christian beliefs is to open ourselves to screaming opposition. It can also be difficult for believers when sinful men are allowed to prosper in the world as righteous men suffer.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33

Jesus spoke these words to his disciples after revealing to them that he would soon be departing from them.  What a comfort we have in the word! Christ’s statement in this verse can be broken down into 3 parts. First, that we may have peace through Him. Jesus told his disciples that he would soon go to the Father. 26“In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” –John 16:26-28. With Jesus at the right hand of God as our intercessor we can have peace.

Second, we are told that we will have tribulation in the world. This is an inevitable reality and should not come as a surprise. Tribulation was certainly familiar to the early Christians. Most were persecuted, even to the point of death. Stephen, Peter, and Paul are obvious examples that come to mind. 12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.-1Peter 4:12-16. Peter suggests that we should rejoice in suffering in Christ’s name as it is a way that we may glorify God. 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.-James 1:2-4. Here we can see that facing trials can refine us and create in us a more complete Christian. Of course, we cannot ever forget the ultimate suffering that Christ endured on our behalf.

The last point to draw from this statement of farewell from Christ is that we should be of good cheer, or have courage (in other translations). What could encourage us more than the fact that Jesus had overcome the world? Our savior faced all the temptations that we do and never wavered. He lived the perfect life. He knew at this point that he would soon be put to death and then be resurrected, to return to the Father. Thus he conquered death and effectively defeated Satan, the prince of the world. Jesus ransomed us through his death and is able to deliver us from the power of sin in the world. Death no longer holds power over us! Knowing this we should not become overwhelmed by the trials of this world.

2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.

-Psalm 46:2-4

-Mark Hammonds