Unshakable

VERSE OF THE DAY

John 16:33 (New International Version)

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“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.”

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” (John 16:33, MSG).

I have made known to you these things so that in me you will have peace and happiness. For I bring serenity and security. For in the world of the world there will always be troubles and trials. But May you take heart and make known that I have overcome the world of trouble and obstacles

[Jesus said,] “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

Related Topics: Jesus, Peace, Heart, Triumph, Victory, Adversity, Assurance, Troubles, All Topics…

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

This world is a place of struggle. Yes, we can live above the struggle for awhile. We can find a way to simply ignore or re-label the struggle for a time. But in the end, the struggle will find us. But in the midst of struggle, we can remind ourselves that our victory is secure. Jesus has won! We will share in his great triumph. In case you didn’t know, the final outcome is already determined and Christians “win big” through Jesus. And this victory is a forever win!

My Prayer…

Thank you, God, for giving me the victory through Jesus Christ my Lord. I greet the future with anticipation because I know each day brings me closer to you and the glorious future you have planned for all of your children. Until then, I pray that I may never lose sight of that victory and yearn for the day of its arrival! In the name of Jesus, the triumphant Rider on the white horse, I pray. Amen.

The Thoughts and Prayer on Today’s Verse are written by Phil Ware. You can email questions or comments to phil@verseoftheday.com.

QUESTION

What did Jesus mean when He said, “I have overcome the world,” in John 16:33?

ANSWER

As Jesus prepared to depart this world, He knew that difficult days lay ahead for His disciples. He wanted them to be ready for the most challenging times they would ever face. Jesus explained how they could endure through the troubles of this life: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NLT).

Amid the storms of life in a dark and fallen world, inner peace is only possible through a relationship with Jesus Christ. The disciples could not depend on themselves to survive the trials and persecution they would soon endure. Instead, they would have to rely entirely on Jesus and everything He had taught them while living and ministering with them.

Fearing for their lives, the disciples would abandon Jesus at the cross (Matthew 26:56). They would be scattered (Mark 14:50; Acts 8:1), arrested (Acts 5:17–21), thrown out of synagogues (John 16:2; Acts 13:14–52), and martyred for their faith in Jesus (Acts 7:54–8:3), but they would not go astray because they would remember the Lord’s words: “Take courage! I have overcome the world” (NASB).

The Greek word translated “overcome” means “to defeat, to win a victory over, as in a contest or military conflict.” The “world” is the created physical realm, the domain of existence here on earth, which is considered distinct from the heavenly or spiritual realm. Jesus knows that here on earth we encounter trouble and sorrow. But He has overcome the world and every earthly obstacle for us.

What has Jesus overcome for us in the world?

Anxieties and cares: Christ’s victory over the world is multifaceted. First, He gives His followers peace to overcome their troubled hearts: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). Those who believe in Jesus Christ don’t have to live with anxious hearts but can experience the gift of His otherworldly peace (John 14:1). We do this by bringing every situation to Him in prayer, depending wholly on Him to meet our needs (Philippians 4:6). The Lord’s peace transcends all the confusion, fear, and anxiety of this world like a shield set over our minds and hearts as we live secure in Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7).

Hatred and persecution: It’s important to remember that Christ’s victory over the world does not physically remove us from the battle. We will face the same hatred Jesus did: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:18–20). We overcome the world because we belong to God. His Spirit lives in us and “is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Paul asked the Romans, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?” (Romans 8:35, NLT). He answers his own question with a resounding, “No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us” (Romans 8:37, NLT).

Sin and temptation: Temptation to sin will always be a part of our lives in this world, but Christ gives us victory over sin. Before salvation, the Bible says we lived like we were dead in disobedience and sin “just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God” (Ephesians 2:1–2, NLT). We used to follow only the passions and inclinations of our sinful nature (Ephesians 2:3). “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. . . . For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4–6, NLT).

Spiritual forces: Jesus not only paid the penalty for our sin, but He also won a pivotal victory over Satan and all the supernatural powers of evil who are aligned with him (Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14). The devil has been defeated through Jesus Christ. As believers, we appropriate Christ’s victory when we put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10–18).

Sorrow and death: Death is an inevitable reality for all people, but for believers in Jesus Christ, death means victory over our last enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26–27). Through His atoning sacrifice on the cross and subsequent resurrection, Jesus overcame the world by conquering death. He shares that victory with all who repent and believe in Him as Lord and Savior: “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:4–5, NLT). Christ’s death grants salvation and eternal life to all who believe in Him.

Jesus told Martha after the death of her brother Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25–26, CSB).

Christ grants that we overcome the world in Him, and He gives us the right to sit with Him on His heavenly throne at the right hand of God the Father (Revelation 3:21; Hebrews 10:12; Romans 8:34). There, in our eternal home in God’s kingdom, we will live forever in the Lord’s presence: “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Revelation 21:3–4, NLT).

FOR FURTHER STUDY

John: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament by Edward W. Klink III

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What does John 16:33 mean?

Christ’s words, recorded here, are among the most cherished in the gospel of John. This statement combines teaching, remembrance, warning, and encouragement. Becoming a Christian does not guarantee an easy life. In fact, Jesus has made it clear that following Him can lead to persecution (John 16:1–4). The joy held by born-again believers comes from knowing that Christ has already obtained ultimate victory, and nothing in this world can undo that (Romans 8:38–39). That Christ made it clear, in advance, that hard times will come (John 15:20–21) should reassure believers: these situations do not take God by surprise.

Several times during the Last Supper, Jesus has pointed out that He is deliberately giving advance warning (John 13:19; 14:25; 16:4). His explicit purpose for this is encouragement; rather than reacting in fear or confusion, Christians should be aware that those experiences are part of God’s greater plan. The book of Hebrews, especially chapter 11, celebrates heroes of the faith who chose to “hold fast” and trust in God. That trust, Scripture shows, was well-placed, even if fulfillment of God’s promises didn’t come until after those believers had passed into eternity.

The “peace” Jesus speaks of is not worldly comfort, or even happiness. This is the confident “rest” (Matthew 11:28–30) believers experience when they set aside anxiety (Matthew 6:25–34), and trust God to work out His will.

As is common in both ancient literature and biblical prophecy, Jesus speaks of something guaranteed by God as if it has already happened. Prior to this Last Supper (John 13:1–5), Christ overcame the temptations of a human life (Hebrews 4:15) and the direct lures of Satan (Matthew 4:1–11). The greater victory, however, will come after His arrest (John 18:1–3) and crucifixion (John 19:18), when He is raised from the dead (John 20:19).

This final statement of confidence leads into one of the holiest portions of the Bible: Christ’s High Priestly Prayer in chapter 17.

Context Summary

John 16:25–33 completes Christ’s combination of encouragement and warning as He prepares the disciples for His impending arrest (John 18:1–3). This passage summarizes the general message of that discourse: that hardship and persecution will come, but believers should remain faithful, knowing this is all part of God’s knowledge and His will. Rather than reacting in panic or doubt, followers of Christ should feel a sense of peace. This confidence is inspired by knowledge that nothing they experience catches God by surprise. The expression “take heart” implies courage: knowing Christ’s victory overshadows all those troubles.

Chapter Summary

Throughout His teaching in the Last Supper (John 13:1–5), Jesus has often brought up the fact that He’s giving His followers advance warnings (John 13:19; 14:25). His intent is to provide encouragement—persecution as a result of their faith is inevitable. In keeping with that reassurance, Jesus again promises the coming of the Holy Spirit. He explains that after a time of deep sorrow, His followers will experience great joy and clarity. This concludes with a beloved promise that Christ has “overcome the world.”

Why Does Jesus Promise ‘In This World You Will Have Trouble’ in John 16:33?

Aaron Berry

Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

• 2019
10 Dec

There isn’t a human being alive on this planet who isn’t acquainted with troubles. Times of difficulty arrive unexpectedly, often remain indefinitely, and the sorrowful memories they produce take deep root in the mind. It is no wonder, then, why Jesus’s promise in John 16:33 also takes deep root in the minds and hearts of so many Christians: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

This comforting verse is found within a larger section in the Gospel of John. Chapters 13-17 make up what theologians refer to as the Farewell Discourse. These are Jesus’s final words of reassurance, comfort, and encouragement to his disciples in the upper room before his betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion. 

In chapter 16, he speaks to them of his impending death and departure, as well as their desertion. In John 16:32, Jesus tells them, “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” 

Certainly, this must have been disconcerting for the disciples to hear, which is why Jesus immediately followed up with his comforting words in John 16:33, “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.” 

In this verse, we see two certain realities: 1) the followers of Jesus will suffer great distress, and 2) Jesus has already won the victory. He didn’t want his disciples to be under the delusion that their future ministry would be full of ease and comfort, and he doesn’t want us to think that either. 

Following Christ is difficult and there will be opposition. Yet, the reality of Christ’s victory over sin and death via his own death and resurrection provides peace and courage in the midst of that opposition. 

In Which Bible Version Does Jesus Say ‘Take Heart, I Have Overcome the World?’

The specific phrase, “Take Heart, I Have Overcome the World,” is found in both the New International Version and the English Standard Version. Other English versions render it slightly differently. “Take Heart” (Greek: tharseite) can also be rendered as “take courage” (NASB) or “be courageous” (CSB). The classic rendering of the KJV is “be of good cheer.” The word “overcome” (Greek: nenikeika) could also be translated “conquered” (CSB, NRSV). 

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Jesus’s claim of victory over the world is in reference to his death, burial, and resurrection. Earlier, in John 12:31, Jesus stated that his crucifixion would conquer and cast out the “ruler of this world.” Elsewhere, Hebrews 2:14-15 says that Jesus came to earth “so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” 

The finished work of Christ removes the teeth from suffering. By entering into our world and suffering alongside of us, Jesus offers certain hope that transcends the temporal sorrow and suffering this world throws at his followers. 

Therefore, we are not called to overcome the world ourselves because Jesus already did. He provides his children with a certain future — a “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” and “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (2 Peter 1:3-4). It is because of this reality that we can “take heart” and “be of good courage.”  

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/BartekSzewczyk

How Are Christians Invited to Live in Light of John 16:33?

The certainty of trouble applies, not only to Jesus’s disciples, but to all who follow him. The Apostle Paul stated bluntly in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Anyone who claims that believing in Jesus brings financial prosperity, physical health, and perfect relationships hasn’t read his Bible. Life is tough and the Christian life is often tougher. The Bible, far from dodging this fact, acknowledges it and embraces it. Jesus himself guaranteed it. And instead of promising to eliminate trouble from our lives, Jesus instead promises to give peace and comfort in the midst of trouble. 

An appropriate way to respond to Jesus’s words in John 16:33 is to ask, “What do I hope in?” 

Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Could it be that troubles and trials make our heart sick because we are placing our hope in that which does not satisfy—a job, a relationship, a position? Christ calls us, not to place our hope in temporal, uncertain things, but in his eternal victory over sin and death on the cross of Calvary. As one commentator states, “It is the victory of God that the Christian celebrates, knowing that all enemies (past, present, and future) have already been defeated, even death itself” [1]

This is why Jesus exhorts us to “store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:20-21)

If your treasure and your hope is not in Christ, than his encouragement to “take heart” in John 16:33 will mean little to you. But if your hope is in Christ, then rest assured that no trouble or trial in this life will take that hope away from you. 

What Are the Two Principle Lessons of John 16:33?

As we have seen, the two lessons from John 16:33 are: 1) Count on trouble and, 2) take courage in Christ’s victory. In many ways, this is the essence of the Christian life. We should never be shocked or surprised when trials come our way. As the Apostle Peter says, “Don’t be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” (1 Peter 4:12

It’s also important to know that true and lasting courage must be based in an assurance, not in ourselves, but in Christ. Whenever Jesus uttered the phrase, “Take heart” or “be of good courage,” he always backed it up with an assurance regarding his own work. [2] 

Therefore, we are called to take heart, not in our own abilities or will power, but in the finished work of Jesus. 

Are There More Bible Verses about Overcoming Trouble?

Scripture is filled with assurances of peace amidst trials and the courage to persist through them. Consider these other passages: 

James 1:2-12

1 Corinthians 10:13

Romans 5:1-5

Romans 8:31-39

Hebrews 12:3-13

A Prayer to ‘Take Heart’ in the Midst of Your Troubles

Dear Father, 

Thank you for offering peace and courage in the midst of trials. The troubles I’m facing did not catch you by surprise, neither are they outside of your control. Help me to take heart in the midst of my trouble by remembering your finished work. You have defeated the ultimate enemy, and even though this trial is painful, I know that it will not separate me from your love. In fact, you promise to strengthen me through it. 

 Thank you for loving me so much that you sent your Son to enter into human suffering and conquer death forever. You are a good and faithful God, and I praise you for giving me incorruptible, unfading inheritance. 

 Help me to place my hope, not in the things of this world, but in you and you alone. 

 In Jesus’s name, Amen. 

Take Heart, Christian—Jesus Has Already Won the Ultimate Victory

If you’re facing trials right now, you can have joy while your tears flow. You can rejoice in the midst of pain. You can be courageous even when your strength fails. Because your Savior, Jesus Christ, took on your sorrow, pain, and weakness. Most importantly, he took your sin and nailed it to his cross. Now, even your darkest struggle is part of his good plan to draw you closer to him. This trial can’t remove you from his love. 

[1] Klink, Edward, John in Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Edited by Clinton Arnold. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016. 704. 
[2] Grundmann, “tharasso,” in TDNT, Vol. III. Edited by Gerhard Kittel. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 26. 

Aaron Berry is a co-author for the Pursuing the Pursuer Blog. You can read more articles from Aaron and his colleagues by subscribing to their blog or following them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Aaron currently resides in Allen Park, MI with his wife and daughter, where he serves in his local church and recently completed an MDiv degree at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Digitalskillet

Author: J. Palmer

Living under the wings of God and the angels around me keeping me going and safe. Sharing the love of Christ.

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