John 16:25-33: Overcome the World
December 9, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Jesus was speaking to them in “figures of speech,” or using analogy and metaphor—picture language—to explain truths that were beyond their ability to grasp literally. There is a place for not speaking literalistically. A child cannot truly understand what it means to be married, and yet will have questions about a marriage. A wise parent will answer those questions with “figures of speech” rather than literally. Similarly, there are parts of the character and nature of God and God’s plans that are not fully comprehensible to us, and so they are revealed to us in forms of language that speak truly but not exhaustively.
What eye has seen, what mind has understood, the wonders that God has prepared for those who love him? (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33).
And yet while there is a time and place to use metaphor, there is also a time to speak “plainly.” Plainly, God the Father loves us. Plainly, Jesus came from heaven to earth and will soon go back from earth to heaven. They grasp onto these truths, and it helps them believe.
Still, there will be troubles or “tribulation” (16:33). Jesus is teaching them, and us, so that despite the opposition of the world, in him we “may have peace.” The royal road to peace is through faith in Christ, and the pathway to such faith is the study of the words of Christ, the Bible, the Scriptures. All so that we may have “peace” in him.
Some try to find peace through circumstances. Foolish endeavor: our circumstances change. Some try to find peace through narcotics or mind-altering drugs or alcohol. Foolish endeavor: dulling our senses is not gaining peace; it is merely losing consciousness. Anesthetics are not the same as peaceful characteristics. But in Christ we may have first peace with God. And then with such peace we may look on the trials and troubles of this world with equanimity.
They who have won God and have peace with him cannot lose anything of any ultimate significance by comparison, in the same way that a man who has won the Olympics will not feel the need to prove himself to be able to win a local competition anymore. What is more, glorious promise, “In the world your will have tribulation [or trouble]. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (16:33).
When we look on the troubles of this day or this season, or a fear even that is just around the corner, school ourselves with this truth: Jesus has overcome the world. He is more powerful than the most powerful dictator; greater than the most impressive prince; omnipotent and sovereign: none in this world can match him to any degree whatsoever. And we are in him! Therefore, we have peace—even when facing troubles.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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