If Jesus Overcame the World then Why Don’t We Experience Continual Peace?
Time was of essence because it was almost time for Jesus to be crucified. Our Savior was broken-hearted, not only because He dreaded what was coming, but also because He loved His disciples deeply and was concerned about how they’d respond in His absence. So, knowing that this would be their last intimate moment on earth together, He chose His words carefully. He warned them of things to come, and then He said something perplexing.
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
I’ve been asking God to help me understand these confusing words our Savior spoke. Of course, we all understand what He meant when He warned them (and us) about having troubles. Because we live in a fallen world there are a multitude of difficult things we encounter in life…painful experiences like unfaithfulness and divorce, illness and death, epidemic suicide, sexual trauma of all kinds and a plethora of pain and heartbreaking experiences. But what did He mean when He told them (and us) to be encouraged because He had overcome the world? If He has truly conquered the world then why are we still experiencing so many hardships? And how can we find the elusive peace He talks about in this verse?
Understanding what He meant when He told them He’d overcome the world sheds light on this enigma. Although He hadn’t died on the cross yet when He spoke these final words, His death and resurrection meant that sin, death and ultimately Satan’s power over us were conquered once and for all time. This victory opened the door for all of God’s children, Jew and Gentile alike, to experience the eternal things of heaven. These divine mysteries can’t be seen with our physical eyes.
You may be wondering, “How can this be?” Understanding that the moment Christ took His last breath on the cross, the veil in the temple that separated sinful people from the Holy One was supernaturally torn in two sheds new insight. This was a divine symbol indicating that those who are cleansed by Christ’s blood are now free to go boldly into the presence of God. It is in His presence that we find peace…the peace that surpasses all comprehension. (Philippians 4:7)
So, what can we do when we’re feeling overwhelmed by the troubles of this world?
We can bow our struggles before the King of kings and gaze upon His loving face. (Hebrews 4:16) When we are in His presence our eyes become fixed on the Holy One instead of our problems…and suddenly our perspective changes, even if our circumstances don’t.
We can remember all that our Savior has done for us and that our Father’s heart is for our good, even if our situation doesn’t seem so. (Jeremiah 29:11)
We can remind ourselves that God is always with us and that He will deliver us, even if that deliverance means going to be with Him in heaven. (John 14:16-17) The two small words “with me” make all the difference in the world.
These truths are enough to help us through every single trial we must face in life. We can trust God with the troubles of the world and find peace when our eyes are focused on our victorious Savior. It is in His presence that we find refreshment.
Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the LORD. (Acts 3:19-20)