“i have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. in the world you will have tribulation. but take heart; i have overcome the world.” [john 16:33]
oh victory in Jesus.
the old hymn by eugene bartlett after suffering from a paralyzing stroke that left him mostly bedridden. during his darkest hour, the Spirit brought him comfort and peace with the lyrics speaking of the God of love who sent his only Son into the world to conquer sin and death and hell forever. this hour of tribulation had been overcome by the work of Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection.
in these precious words that Jesus spoke to his disciples before his arrest, he was preparing them for a time when they would scatter, abandoning him. also further away, when he would ascend to his Father’s right hand, sending the Spirit to empower and teach them, and promising to himself be with them always.
three things Jesus promises in this one verse:
- in the world you will have tribulation – we are promised trial and tribulation in this life. sometimes it comes in the form of persecution. sometimes it comes in the form of physical suffering. sometimes it comes in the form of fighting daily temptations. but we all suffer in many ways. Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. [1 peter 4:12]
- but take heart; i have overcome the world – Jesus has won the victory! his mission completed, his authority over sin tested and proven, we see the sting of death and the grave removed, and the promise of eternal life fulfilled. tribulation no longer has the same effect on us because we know the battle is won. since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. [hebrews 2:14]
- in me you may have peace – those who are found in Jesus, trusting in his blood to reconcile them to the Father share in the victory he won. no more fear of death. no more bondage to sin. no more separation from God. no more under his wrath. no more destined for hell. even in trial and tribulation, we can have perfect peace when we are resting in his finished work. therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. [romans 5:1]
we do not suffer as those who have no hope. we do not grieve as those who have no hope. we do not press on in life as those who have no hope! hope is alive because Jesus Christ is alive and has conquered death! so in him, may we rejoice in our suffering for his name’s sake. o victory in Jesus!
not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. [romans 5:3-5]
~ arwen eastman