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Overcoming the World

Lent 2022

Read John 16:16-33

16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”

29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 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.”

“Believers may not feel like conquerors of the world, but, thankfully, overcoming the world depends not on our feelings or experiences but on our faith.”1

Surely the disciples did not feel like victors when Jesus was arrested, crucified, and laid in the tomb. They scattered during the crisis and, in the aftermath of Jesus’ death, hid behind locked doors fearing for their lives. Little did they know that Jesus overcame the world during those terrifying, overwhelming hours.

Throughout God’s word, we are reminded that the world outside of us is not as great as the One who is within us. Because of what Jesus accomplished, we are able to live out Jesus’ words: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Not only has our Lord overcome the world, he has given us something very powerful: he has given us his name with which to call upon the Father in prayer. In times of tribulation, we are not left without any recourse. Rather, we are invited to approach the throne of God in prayer, not in our own name, but rather with the very name of Jesus, the Son of God. Even when our lives are full of discord, hardship, or suffering we are able to sing with confident hope, “Jesus lives! The victory’s won! Death no longer can appall me…This shall be my confidence.”2

Prayer: Father, you know the trials I face. Grant me peace so that I may not be overwhelmed by them, but instead find rest in the assurance of Christ’s victory. In the name of Jesus, your Son, my Lord. Amen.

1 Study note 1 John 5:4, The Lutheran Study Bible, pp 2179-2180.
2 Hymn, “Jesus Lives! The Victory’s Won”, Christian Furchtegott Gellert, tr. Frances E. Cox.

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