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
As Christians, we might be very comfortable with Christ’s assertion that He has overcome the world. We have read the prophecy of Christ’s return in Revelation where He appears triumphant to claim dominion over the earth. We have read the resurrection story of how Christ rises from the dead and then ascends into heaven where He reigns eternally.
What makes this statement of Christ so interesting is that He makes it when He has not yet done any of those things. In fact, He makes it when He is about to appear anything but triumphant. Immediately following this statement, Jesus will pray the High Priestly prayer in John 17 and then in chapter 18 head to the Garden of Gethsemane where He will be arrested by the Jewish authorities.
Following His arrest, Jesus will be dragged in for interrogation and a show trial where He will be convicted and beaten. He will then be turned over to the Romans for further questioning, condemned, and then tortured to death. To be honest, it is not a picture of overcoming. You might understand if a non-Christian, or even the first disciples, thought Jesus was mistaken about having overcome the world.
But in another sense entirely, Jesus has totally already overcome the world. Jesus has spent the last three years teaching the truth of the Kingdom of God accompanied by signs and wonders that could not be ignored. In so doing, He has presented such a perfect picture of God, and of what God declares to be right and wrong, that He has thoroughly convicted the religious and political power structures. They have already determined they have to silence Him.
May we never be treated as brutally as Christ, but God forgive us if we do not present that same picture of the Kingdom. Is your life so anachronistic to the evil power structures of the world that it exposes them for what they are? Does your life demonstrate the truth that hypocrisy is a sin and that true religion is caring for the vulnerable? Have you overcome the world?