“In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (v. 33)
I love how forthright Christ is when he promises trouble. Ease will be the exception. Peace, an anomaly. But then, there’s a glorious juxtaposition: he has overcome it. In fact, Jesus experienced it firsthand, as God in the flesh, which is why we can trust his claim that he has truly conquered it.
I remember taking comfort in this verse following my “coming out” online, when unbelievers unleashed their opinions on my faith and my commitment to honor God by remaining single. During that time, I could imagine — almost hear — Jesus speaking these words to me. And many, many times since.
Yes, the world has trouble, and it can feel unpredictable and chaotic. But at least Jesus told us up front, and gave us hope for those moments when we feel it most.
This passage is packed with truths about the Trinity — a glimpse into the relationship and roles of Father, Son, and Spirit, each intimately involved in our lives.
I so often focus on Jesus, the man among the Godhead. That’s one reason the Son took on flesh — to be an approachable mediator who can sympathize with my weakness, who lived the entire human experience from birth to death, but without sin. As “God with us,” it’s natural to gravitate toward him.
But the Father and Spirit love me, too. In John 14, Jesus assures his friends that in his physical absence the entire Godhead would be with them to comfort, teach, and uphold them. They wouldn’t be left as orphans, because the FATHER would send the SPIRIT to remind them of what the SON taught them. They wouldn’t see Jesus, hear his voice or lean against his bosom or walk with him in the way they had before, but they’re left with a promise that God would still be with them “forever.”
I need this assurance, too, as I fret about the future, the state of this world, the flux and flow of my sanctification. “Let not your heart be troubled.” God — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost — is with me.
What a polarizing figure Jesus is! One group wanted to crown him king, another wanted to kill him. His own siblings, who for years slept under the same roof, didn’t recognize him as the Messiah. Questions arose about his trustworthiness, his education, his morality. At best, people thought he was unstudied; at worst, demon-possessed. All this during a feast to commemorate the faithfulness of God — yet God himself dwelt among them and they didn’t know it.
Jesus was the perfect human, the most loving friend, the most learned teacher. He did everything right, but there were still many who hated and disbelieved. This is strangely comforting in my Christian walk, as I seek to live in step with God’s Word, but people mock and misconstrue. Of course, I do the wrong things very often, too. But Jesus never did. He was “God with us” and yet his own people did not receive him (John 1:11).
But by the end of John 7, there are a glorious few who say, “This is the Christ.” At this point in John’s gospel, people are taking sides. Eternal life and death hinge on what they believe about Jesus — as it does today. Truly, as A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”