The most astonishing statement ever made
A statement made by Jesus turned the world upside down for many, but for most the world has not moved.
The world has been overcome
The most astonishing statement ever made was when Jesus said to His disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
What did He mean by that? It certainly begs an analysis – for it has far-reaching consequences.
The camp of the enemy
Firstly, what was there about the world to overcome? His statement seems to label the world as a place that needed serious attention, as if the world was an enemy camp - in which case, anyone living in this world was under serious threat of being detected and swallowed up by the enemy. We know that Jesus was sent by God. He had a mission. And by stating that He had overcome the world for us must surely mean that He had accomplished His mission. Perhaps we should look at what God thinks of the world in order to grasp the meaning of this statement.
1 John 2:15,16 reads, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
We see here that the lust of the flesh is of the world. Let’s look at the definition of this. "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contention, jealousy, wrath, selfish ambition, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelry, and the like, of which I tell you beforehand, just as I have also told you in times past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God." (Gal. 5:19-21)
And if the world is an enemy camp, then these “works” must be the works of the enemy and it must have something to do with Jesus’ mission. “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
That’s it! The works of the devil is sin – and Jesus came to destroy his works, which means he has overcome the world and what it represents.
So, if we are living in the enemy camp – which is the world - and we cavort with the enemy, then we are in an adulterous relationship and no longer in relationship with our Heavenly Father. It actually means that we are living in sin. "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4.)
Be of good cheer
Jesus said that He had overcome the world and, therefore, we should “be of good cheer”. Obviously, if Jesus had destroyed the works of the enemy, then we should not fear living in the enemy camp, but why leave us here if the world all around us is dancing with the enemy and tempting us to follow suit? Jesus said He had overcome the enemy so that “ye might have peace” and be cheerful about it. What kind of peace can be had living with the enemy?
Well, to put it bluntly, those that are indulging in the things of the world (in an adulterous relationship with the enemy) are going to perish and God does not want them to spend eternity in hell. There’s a reason for it – and that reason is His love for the man he created. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” ( John 3:16)
As for leaving us in the enemy camp, Jesus passed on a mission to us – and that is to convert followers of the prince of this world (the devil) so that they may also inherit the Kingdom of God. We are in this world but no longer of this world – and that is what gives us the peace mentioned by Jesus. The world is waiting for the Good News of Jesus Christ who has overcome the world. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mt 28:19,20)
We are one
Those who have stepped over to the Kingdom of God are now one with the Father and Jesus Christ. While still in the enemy camp they will suffer persecution, but they are of good cheer, for they have also overcome the world – through Him.
The prayer of Jesus puts it in a nutshell.
John 17:13-23. “And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
Are you still in an adulterous affair with the world?