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He Has Overcome
Photo: Lee Torrens
The scene is an upper room. Jesus and His disciples are eating a symbolic meal in honor of the Passover. Wanting to show the full extent of His love for them, Jesus rises from the table to take on the role of a servant. He gets on His knees and begins washing their dusty, travel-worn feet.

Only Jesus knows that this is their last night together. He feels compelled to speak because there’s so much to say in so little time. So He comforts them, instructs them, and speaks His final encouraging words to them as a group: “ ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ ” (John 16:33).

Jesus knew that the disciples would face trouble. That very night, Peter would deny Him three times. The rest would scatter and hide out of fear of being associated with Him. Later they would face persecution—and some, a martyr’s death—for carrying on His work.

Jesus has an important message for them: Through His death He is about to overcome the greatest enemy once and for all! And since He would surely overcome, they could surely overcome, too. As William Barclay writes in his commentary, Jesus is saying: “ ‘The victory which I will win can be your victory too. The world did its worst to me, and I emerged victorious. Life can do its worst to you, and you too can merge victorious. You too can possess the courage and the conquest of the Cross.’ ” 1

A Promise

Jesus’ final words to His disciples are a promise. And they’re our promise, too.

Are you struggling with an addiction?
“I have overcome the world.”

Do you have a terminal disease?
“I have overcome the world.”

Does life have too many temptations that cause you to stumble and fall every day?
“I have overcome the world.”

Has your loved one died?
“I have overcome the world.”

As Jesus emerged victorious from the grave, we too can emerge victorious from every battle we face. Jesus doesn’t want us to live a life of misery and defeat—always losing and never winning. The reason He came, the reason He lived, and the reason He died was so that you and I would not be conquered, but rather be conquerors.

The battle has already been won for us. There is forgiveness and freedom from sin. There is life after death at the resurrection. Our own personal battle comes with the day-to-day decisions of what we will do with Jesus. Will we talk with Him every day? Will we read His Word and follow the right way to live? Will we ask His forgiveness and get back up when we fall?

We can’t be victorious without Him. But with Him, there isn’t a single battle we cannot win.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION.

1 Barclay, William. The Gospel of John Volume 2. The Westminster Press, 1975.

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