Sunday – March 13, 2016
Day 33 – John 16:16-33
Focus: vs. 33
33 “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.”
“We shall overcome, we shall overcome, we shall overcome someday. Deep in my heart, I do believe, we shall overcome someday.” These are the words to the famous anthem of the African-American Civil Rights Movement in the 60’s. It was a song, based on several earlier gospel hymns drawn from Galatians 6:9, that encouraged it’s hearers to stand strong in order to achieve equality through non-violent protests. While the older hymns had a little more of the Bible in them, the version sung by Joan Baez seems to still catch the gist of the gospel message.
We live in a pretty messed up world where things like the color of our skin is used, by some, to determine superiority over another. The Bible is pretty clear that we are all equally inferior, as compared to God and His holy standards, and that the color of our skin has nothing to do with it. Why is it we, as humans, are capable of so much hatred? The answer is sin. This world is broken and we are broken with it. So we do a lot of stupid things that cause trouble for the people around us.
How can we have peace such a broken world filled with such tribulation as comes our way on a daily basis? Disease, heartache, death, manipulation and every sin that a messed up humanity can think up make for a lot of opportunities for trouble in our lives. In our scripture, Jesus is talking about the near future and how he will be gone soon. That sin and tribulation is going to cause some very bad things to happen to Him. Things are about to get really bad and you can be sure you will be affected by it all. But you can handle all the bad stuff differently. You don’t have to worry, you don’t have to be to be in turmoil. Jesus wants to give you peace.
Specifically, Jesus is talking about the persecution His followers are about to face because they are His disciples. Jesus wanted them to stand strong and history tells us that they did. They stood so strong that the faith has continuously defeated the flawed ideologies of the world over and over again to reach even to our present age. When Jesus says, “I have overcome the world,” He means that He has defeated the sin and brokenness that surrounds us and the death that comes as a result. So our peace comes from Him overcoming the world on our behalf and He continues to do so even today. His words extend to us today. Jesus has overcome the world and, since we have accepted Him, we have gained His victory as well.
Are you facing trials and tribulations in your life today? We shall overcome. The words to the original hymn say, “This world is one great battlefield, with forces all arrayed; if in my heart I do not yield, I’ll overcome someday. I’ll overcome someday (someday), I’ll overcome someday; if in my heart I do not yield, I’ll overcome someday.” We shall overcome because Jesus has overcome. Stand strong.
Prayer Focus: Dear Jesus, You overcame. You defeated death and sin and gave that victory to me. Thank you, Jesus, for my salvation. Hold me close to You in times of trial. Give me strength to stand firm and help me to have peace through the victory You have won for me. Amen.