John 16 records the words of Jesus to the disciples on the evening before His crucifixion. Jesus knew the events of the next hours would be among the most difficult for the men who had faithfully followed Him for three years. That’s why Jesus took the time to help the disciples understand the things they would face in the coming hours and days.
The most distressing news Jesus shared with the disciples was that He was going away (see John 13:33; 16:5). Several of the disciples began their journey with Jesus with the invitation, “Come, follow me” (see Matt. 4:19 and Mark 2:14). Ironically, their journey with Jesus was ending with the words, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later” (John 13:36). For the first time in a little over three years, the disciples faced the prospect of life without the physical presence of Jesus.
What would the disciples do without the physical presence of Jesus? After all, they had come to depend on Jesus. When the disciples found themselves on a storm-tossed sea, it was Jesus who calmed the storm (Mark 4:35-41). When Peter’s mother-in-law was ill, it was Jesus who visited and healed her (Matt. 8:14-15). When the disciples had questions about practical issues, it was Jesus who answered them (Matt. 18:21). When the disciples wanted to learn how to pray, it was Jesus who taught them (Luke 11:1-4). And now, after three years, Jesus announced, “I am going to Him who sent me” (v. 5).
16:1 “All this [the words about His own persecution and theirs] I have told you so that you will not go astray [stumble; to be caught off guard; Jesus wanted His followers to be ready for the difficult times to come; warning of persecution prepared them to face it].
“All this” refers to everything Jesus had told His disciples about His own persecution and theirs (15:18-27). Knowing He only had a brief time remaining with His disciples, Jesus warned them of the opposition they would inevitably face. Jesus did not want for His disciples to be caught off guard when trials came lest they go astray or stumble.
We must not be naively optimistic about the reception we will receive from the world but must mentally and spiritually prepare ourselves for the hatred and opposition we will experience. And, like Jesus, we have a responsibility to help others, especially new believers, understand both the benefits of following Christ as well as the cost of discipleship.
16:2 They will put you out [expel; excommunication; loss of fellowship] of the synagogue [cf. Jn. 9:22; 12:42]; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think [suppose] he is offering a service [priestly service] to God [cf. Acts 7:57—8:3; 22:3-4; 26:9-12 re: Saul of Taursus].
Jesus elaborated on the nature of the persecution His followers would experience. Initially, the persecution would come from the religious community. Many believers would be put out of the synagogue. In fact, the hatred of the religious community had already manifested itself in this particular way. John recorded that “the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be put out of the synagogue” (9:22; see also 12:42).
Jesus also warned of a time when self-righteous religious individuals would think they were offering a service to God by killing followers of Jesus. Paul is an example of someone who sincerely believed he was serving God by killing believers and stamping out what he thought was a distortion of his Jewish faith (Acts 26:10; Gal. 1:13-14).
While in Lima, Peru, I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of the Tribunal of the Holy Inquisition. The instruments of torture displayed in this museum are a sobering reminder of what misguided religious zeal can do. Many believers in the world today still face the threat of death from inquisitors who are convinced they are offering a service to God—or to their particular god. Believers in southern Sudan, Indonesia, and other parts of our world face such threats daily.
16:3 They will do such things [persecute, excommunicate, kill] because they have not known [ignorance; cf. 1 Tim. 1:13] the Father or me.
Jesus again cited ignorance on the part of others (15:21) as a reason His followers would be persecuted, excommunicated, and killed. Despite their sincere motives (16:2b), those who would persecute believers would do so out of ignorance of God and Jesus. Paul later testified, “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief” (1 Tim. 1:13).
16:4 I have told [forewarned] you this [message concerning hatred and persecution], so that when [indicates the certainty of persecution] the time comes you will remember that I warned you. I did not tell you this at first because I [Jesus Himself had been their protection; He had deflected criticism and opposition away from disciples] was with you.
Jesus had forewarned His disciples so that they would be forearmed. When the time of persecution would visit each of them, He wanted them to remember what He had told them. He did not want for them to be caught by surprise. Jesus waited to issue this warning because He had always been present with His disciples. He had deflected criticism and opposition away from them and had been personally available to help them. However, after His crucifixion, persecution would shift from Jesus to His disciples. He wanted them to be ready when that time came. We too, should remember these words of Jesus because the world is still hostile toward Jesus and His followers.
16:5 “Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks [what could have helped them realize that Jesus’ departure was for their good] me, ‘Where are you going?’
The disciples were speechless (v. 5) and sorrowful (v. 6) when Jesus told them that He was going away. The disciples grieved (v. 6), like bereaved children separated from their parents, wondering how they could possibly face life without the one they loved. Moved by their grief, Jesus explained to the disciples why His departure would be good or advantageous for them. Jesus assured the disciples that He would not leave them on their own. Jesus promised to send the Counselor, or Holy Spirit, in His place.
How is the presence of the Holy Spirit advantageous for believers? While in His physical body on the earth, Jesus could only be in one place at one time. The Holy Spirit however, serves as Jesus’ representative in the lives of all believers in all places at all times. As Jesus’ representative, the Holy Spirit indwells believers. We are never away from the Holy Spirit’s presence.
What does the presence of the Holy Spirit mean for believers today? The Holy Spirit can help us safely navigate through life’s storms. The Holy Spirit can give us the peace and strength to face difficulties and tough times. The Holy Spirit can help us understand and apply the principles of God’s Word to the practical issues of life. The Holy Spirit can even help us when we don’t know how to pray (see Rom. 8:26). The Holy Spirit can enable us to face life with confidence.
16:6 Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief.
The most distressing news that Jesus shared with His disciples was that He was going away (see John 13:33). Jesus was returning to the Father who sent Him. Several of the disciples began their journey with Jesus with the invitation, “Come, follow me” (see Matt. 4:19). Ironically, their journey with Jesus was ending with the words, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later” (John 13:36).
For the first time in a little over three years, the disciples faced the prospect of life without the physical presence of Jesus. The thought of this left them speechless and filled with grief. They grieved like little children separated from their parents, wondering how they could possibly face life without the one they loved.
16:7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good [it is expedient; it is of an advantage; it is profitable] that I am going away. Unless I go away [Jesus’ presence on earth was limited to one place at one time], the Counselor [lives in every believer in the whole world] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
Moved by the grief of the disciples, Jesus explained to them why His departure would be good for them. Jesus promised to send the Counselor, or Holy Spirit, in His place. How is the presence of the Holy Spirit advantageous for believers? While in His physical body on the earth, Jesus could only be at one place at one time. The Holy Spirit, however, serves as Jesus’ Representative in the lives of all believers in all places at all times. As Jesus’ Representative, the Holy Spirit indwells believers. We are never far away from the Holy Spirit’s presence.
16:8 When he comes, he will convict [cross-examine for purpose of refuting an opponent; expose the facts, convince someone of the truth, accuse, refute] the world of guilt in regard to  sin [step one is to convince people that they are guilty of sin; must know you are lost before you can be saved] and  righteousness [people need to know that they fall short of God’s standard of righteousness (Rom. 3:23); Holy Spirit legally convicts people of their sin, representing the righteous judgment of God] and  judgment [people must be convinced about the reality of a coming judgment]:
After the departure of Jesus, the disciples had the initial responsibility of taking the gospel to the world. Each generation of believers since then has had the responsibility of sharing the gospel with its own generation. However, we cannot successfully share the gospel with others apart from the work of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus explained to the disciples the role of the Holy Spirit in relation to the world. Jesus said the Holy Spirit will convict the world, or unbelievers. The word convict is a legal term meaning to expose, to bring to light, and to correct. The Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment. The Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers so that they will want to repent of their sin and put their faith in Jesus for salvation.
16:9 in regard to sin, because men do not believe [greatest sin is refusal to believe in Jesus (cf. Jn. 3:18)] in me;
The Holy Spirit convicts the world in regard to sin. People are not always willing to acknowledge their sin. Many are unwilling to see sin for what it really is. Some people try to dismiss their sin with excuses. Others try to rationalize their sin by saying everybody is doing it. Still others keep silent about their sin or try to cover it up. The Holy Spirit helps people come to terms with sin by showing them what their sin does to them, to others, and to God. He helps people understand that the greatest sin is not believing in Jesus (see John 3:18).
16:10 in regard to righteousness [Spirit shows people that Christ alone provides the standard of God’s righteousness; Spirit shows the world the futility of self-righteousness and the inadequacy of works, rites, rituals, religion], because [Spirit would continue work of Jesus] I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer;
The Holy Spirit convicts the world in regard to righteousness. Many people compare themselves with other people and say, “I’m not as bad as that person.” When we compare ourselves with others we get a false sense of security. The Holy Spirit helps people see their righteousness in comparison to Christ, God’s standard of righteousness. Only then do people come to the realization that they do not measure up to the righteousness of Christ. By comparison, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (see Isa. 64:6).
16:11 and in regard to judgment [Spirit shows that through Jesus’ death and resurrection Satan has already been condemned; convicts us of our impending judgment if we fail to believe in Jesus], because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
The Holy Spirit also convicts in regard to judgment. When Jesus died on the cross, He won the victory over the prince of this world and His evil forces (see John 12:31). God has already judged and condemned Satan. The Holy Spirit helps people realize that those who refuse to repent and place their faith in Jesus for salvation will suffer the same fate as Satan. The Holy Spirit shows people that only God can rescue them from such a terrible situation (see Eph. 2:1-9).
16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear [grasp; understand; basic idea is that they cannot understand now; cf. Mk. 4:33].
Jesus had much more to say to the disciples on the night before His crucifixion. However, Jesus knew it would be much more than they could bear or understand. Jesus taught the disciples the things they needed to know at the proper time and stage of their spiritual development. Jesus’ example teaches us that people learn spiritual truth one step at a time.
16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide [to show the way; the figure of a guide who introduces the traveler into an unknown country; the Spirit would expand the apostles’ partial understanding of Christ’s life and mission; cf. 2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16] you into all truth [the truth about Jesus’ identity, the truth of His words and actions, the truth about all that was to happen to Jesus; cf. 1 Jn. 2:20]. He will not speak on his own [what the Holy Spirit speaks is consistent with what Jesus taught]; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come [the outworking of God’s redemptive purpose; insights given to the apostles regarding the Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and perhaps the second coming of Christ or the body of Christian truth and doctrine communicated by the apostles].
A key function of the Holy Spirit is to serve as a guide to believers. Jesus said the Spirit of truth would guide the disciples into all truth. The Holy Spirit would guide the disciples to understand the meaning and significance of Jesus’ life and mission. He continues to enlighten people today about the meaning of Jesus‘ life and mission.
The Holy Spirit is a trustworthy guide because He speaks only what He hears. In other words, the message of the Holy Spirit is exactly the same as that of Jesus. He does not present an independent or contradictory message. The Holy Spirit would also tell the disciples what is yet to come. These coming events included the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
Note: You are never alone…
• when you live day to day. As a believer, the Holy Spirit lives in you. You can count on the Holy Spirit to help you face life with confidence.
• when you share your faith. You can count on the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of unbelievers and to convict them of their guilt before God.
• when you study God’s Word. You can count on the Holy Spirit to guide you as you study and seek to apply Christ’s truths in your life.
16:14 He will bring glory to me [even as Jesus brought glory to the Father; Spirit always points people to Jesus] by taking from what is mine and making it known [to proclaim; cf. Jn. 15:26] to you.
16:15 All that belongs to the Father is mine [unity between Father, Son, and Spirit]. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
The Holy Spirit brings glory to Jesus just as Jesus brought glory to the Father (see John 17:4). He takes and makes known to people the things pertaining to Jesus. The Holy Spirit never points to or magnifies Himself above Jesus. He always glorifies and exalts Jesus as Lord. He always turns the spotlight on Jesus. Any system of religion or theology that does otherwise is not of the Holy Spirit.
We too should seek to glorify Jesus. We can glorify Jesus as we allow the Holy Spirit to control and empower our lives (see Eph. 5:18). When we allow the Holy Spirit to govern our daily living, He uses us to direct others to Jesus.
Note: The Holy Spirit is present in believers from the time of their conversion. At conversion, we receive all of the Holy Spirit we will ever need. The issue is not how we can get more of the Holy Spirit, but rather how the Holy Spirit can get more of us. Because the Holy Spirit indwells us, we can…
• face life with confidence. We can count on the presence of the Holy Spirit in every situation we face in life.
• share our faith with conviction. We can count on the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of unbelievers and to convict them of their guilt before God.
• minister with compassion. We can count on the Holy Spirit to help us see and respond to human need as Jesus would.
• study God’s Word with commitment. We can count on the Holy Spirit to guide us as we study and seek to apply the truths of Scripture.
16:16 “In a little while [in a few hours] you will see me no more [refers to Jesus’ death], and then after a little while you will see me [refers to Jesus’ resurrection].”
16:17 Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while [in a few hours] you will see me no more [reference to His death], and then after a little while you will see me [reference to His resurrection],’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’ [cf. John 16:10]?”
16:18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand [means “to see” and signifies perception and knowledge] what he is saying.”
Jesus again told the disciples that His departure was close at hand (16:16). However, the disciples were puzzled by what Jesus meant when He said in a little while you will see me no more. They could not reconcile that statement with the statement that they would see Him again after a little while. But, rather than asking Jesus for clarification, they kept asking one another what Jesus meant by “a little while.” Jesus was not trying to confuse the disciples. He was trying to help them understand that their pending separation would bring them sorrow, but their future reunion with Him would bring them joy.
Jesus’ first “a little while” statement referred to His fast-approaching death and burial. In a matter of hours the disciples would see Him no more. Several suggestions have been made regarding Jesus’ second “a little while” statement. Some believe Jesus was referring to His resurrection and the period immediately preceding His ascension. Others suggest Jesus was referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Still others believe Jesus was speaking of His second coming. Jesus probably was referring to His resurrection and the days that followed when He would appear to His disciples and many other witnesses (1 Cor. 15:5-8). Although the disciples were not prepared to grasp everything Jesus was saying (16:12), they would have a better understanding of His words after His death and resurrection.
16:19 Jesus saw [to know, perceive, understand] that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking [implies search for something hidden] one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’?
16:20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn [reference is to the loud wailing and lamentation that is the customary reaction to death in the Near East] while the world [people who opposed/hated Jesus] rejoices [because of death of “madman” or troublemaker]. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy [at the sight of their resurrected Lord].
Jesus must have overheard the disciples’ discussion concerning what He meant by “a little while” and the statement that He was “going to the Father.” So, He took the initiative to explain to them what He meant and to dispel their sorrow concerning His departure. Jesus explained that the disciples would weep and mourn at His death. The words “weep” and “mourn” refer to the loud wailing that was the customary reaction to the death of a loved one in Jesus’ day (see Luke 8:52; John 11:33).
Jesus also said that the world—those who opposed and hated Him—would react to His death by rejoicing. The religious leaders, who opposed Jesus and were always looking for an opportunity to discredit Him, would see His death as a victory. But, the grief of the disciples and the rejoicing of the world would be short-lived. The reactions to Jesus’ death on Friday would be forever changed on Sunday.
16:21 [analogy] A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets [joy of childbirth overshadowed memories of pain] the anguish [trouble (cf. 16:33)] because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
Jesus used a familiar illustration from life to help the disciples understand what He was talking about. He compared the pain they were experiencing to the pain a woman experiences in giving birth to a child. When the time comes for a woman to deliver, she experiences great pain. Women in Jesus’ day did not have medical options available to help lessen that pain.
When my wife was in labor with our first child, every minute seemed like an hour. In the midst of the labor pains we began to wonder if our child would ever be born. But within hours she gave birth to our daughter and the pain my wife had experienced was forgotten and replaced by great joy. The pain and anguish of childbirth is great, explained Jesus, but gives way to joy when a mother holds her infant in her arms.
16:22 So with you: Now [at the present moment and over the next couple of days] is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice [because they would see Jesus again], and no one will take away your joy [a permanent joy, unlike the fleeting joy of Jesus’ enemies; cf. Ps. 30:5b; Acts 5:41].
Like a woman in labor, the disciples were suffering. They would continue to suffer over the next couple of days. Every minute would seem like an hour and every hour like a day as they lived through the unfolding events that led to the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. However, like a mother who rejoices at the sight of her newborn, the disciples would experience great joy when they saw Jesus again.
The joy Jesus promised they would experience was an abiding joy, not an exception from future sorrow. Only Jesus gives the kind of joy that can exist in spite of sorrow. He gives the kind of joy the world can neither give nor take away.
16:23 In that day [refers to the time subsequent to the day of Jesus’ resurrection; the time the Spirit would be available to teach them (cf. 16:12-15)] you will no longer ask [cf. Jn. 16:19; primarily means to ask by way of inquiry, and then by request; time would come when the disciples would not need to ask Jesus anymore questions] me anything [but instead the disciples could take their requests directly to the Father]. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever [limited by “in His name”] you ask [to ask by way of petition; make requests directly to the Father, who would answer requests in Jesus’ name (cf. 14:13-14; 15:7)] in my name [requests that the believer knows Jesus would be pleased to answer and that are in accordance with the Father’s will].
In verse 19 Jesus saw that the disciples wanted to ask Him a question. In this verse, Jesus told the disciples that a day was coming when they would no longer ask Him questions. After His resurrection, the disciples’ questions about Jesus’ departure and return would be answered. After His ascension, Jesus would no longer be physically present to answer the disciples’ questions. That day most likely referred to the time after the coming of the Holy Spirit who would teach (John 14:26) and guide them into all truth concerning Jesus (John 16:13).
After His ascension the disciples would make their requests directly to the Father. Jesus assured the disciples that God would grant them whatever they asked in His name. The “whatever” of our requests however, is limited to requests in Jesus’ name, that is, to requests in accordance with His character and His will and such that He would be pleased to answer.
Note: To ask or pray in Jesus’ name means…
• to acknowledge that He is the means of our access to God.
• to base our requests on who Jesus is and on what He has done for us.
• to ask on His authority and in keeping with His will and character.
16:24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy [answered prayer brings joy] will be complete [cf. 1 Jn. 5:13-15].
While Jesus was on earth, the disciples did not address their prayers to the Father in the name of Jesus. When the disciples had asked Jesus to teach them to pray, “just as John taught His disciples” (Luke 11:1), He answered their request by giving them the Model Prayer (Luke 11:2-4).
The Model Prayer is addressed to the Father and does not mention Jesus. However, knowing that His death and resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit were near, Jesus instructed His disciples to address their prayers to the Father in my name. The verb “ask” means to ask repeatedly or to continue to ask. Jesus assured the disciples the Father would answer such prayers and that they would experience joy as a result. This verse reminds us that answered prayer brings joy.
16:25 “Though I have been speaking [refers to what Jesus had taught in the final hours before His crucifixion and perhaps the things He taught throughout His earthly ministry] figuratively [or in parables, metaphors, similes; cf. 16:12-13], a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you [through the Holy Spirit; cf. 16:13-15] plainly [clear and fresh understanding] about my Father.
Jesus often had spoken to the disciples and to the crowds with the symbolic language of parables. On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus spoke to the disciples in figures of speech or in veiled sayings. He washed their feet, spoke about many rooms in His Father’s house, used the illustration of a vine and branches, and spoke about a woman in labor.
Jesus was not trying to keep the disciples from understanding Him. Instead, He chose this particular method of communication to teach things that could be understood at the proper time. He explained as much as the disciples could understand at that time and at that particular stage of their spiritual development.
With the arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, all of the things Jesus had taught the disciples would become clearer to them. The Holy Spirit would help the disciples have a clear and fresh understanding of everything Jesus had taught them about the Father.
16:26 In that day you will ask [direct, personal access to God] in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on [concerning] your behalf [instead, disciples would go straight to God, asking in Jesus’ name; cf. Heb. 4:16].
16:27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me [the Son whom the Father dearly loves] and have believed that I came from God.
Jesus explained to the disciples that His death would open the way for direct, personal access to the Father in prayer. Earlier in the evening, Jesus had told the disciples that He would ask the Father to send them “another Counselor” (John 14:16). After the coming of the Counselor, Jesus would no longer have to make requests on behalf of the disciples. Instead, the disciples would go directly to the Father and make their requests in Jesus’ name.
Jesus made it possible for believers to directly “approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Heb. 4:16). Jesus explained that the Father loves all who love the Son and believe in Him as the one whom He has sent. Those who believe in Jesus are given the right or privilege to become “children of God” (John 1:12). As children, they can go directly to the Father, knowing that He will welcome them and answer requests made in Jesus’ name.
I grew up with the mistaken belief that I could only approach God through a human mediator. Once a week I would go to church and enter a confessional booth where I would confess my sins to a priest. If I had a personal concern, I was always careful to address that concern to the proper saint. Many times I wondered if I had submitted my concerns to God through the appropriate channel. God and heaven seemed so distant. But, I recall the great joy I experienced when, as a new believer, I learned for the first time that I could go directly to the Father in prayer and needed no human mediator or saint. Prayer took on a whole new meaning. To this day, I rejoice in the opportunity to address my petitions directly to the Father in Jesus’ name.
16:28 [description of Jesus’ entire mission] I came from the Father [preexistence] and entered the world [incarnation; to secure salvation for human beings]; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father [resurrection and ascension; cf. Jn. 17:5].”
This single verse describes Jesus’ entire mission. Jesus again emphasized that He “came from God” (16:27). The words came from the Father refer to the pre-existence and to the incarnation of Jesus. “The word became flesh” (John 1:14) and entered the world in order “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).
After completing His redemptive mission, Jesus said He would leave the world and return to the Father where He would again be clothed with the glory He had “before the world began” (John 17:5). This declaration seemed to satisfy (16:29) the disciples’ earlier questions (16:17-18).
16:29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech.
16:30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
16:31 “You believe at last!” Jesus answered.
16:32 “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave [forsake] me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
16:33 “I have told you these things [the things shared in the hours before arrest and crucifixion], so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble [tribulation, persecution, affliction]. But take heart [have courage, be courageous; be of good cheer]! I have overcome [military term; to conquer (perfect tense denotes abiding spiritual victory)] the world [Satan’s system that is opposed to God].”
These things refers to everything Jesus had shared with the disciples in the hours before His arrest and crucifixion, including the troubling announcement that they would forsake him (16:32). Everything Jesus shared in the upper room was meant to instill a sense of peace in the hearts of the disciples.
Jesus reminded them that they lived in two realms: in me and in this world. The world offers trouble and tribulation and persecution (John 15:20). Jesus offers peace. He is the antidote to the trouble we experience in this world. Jesus told the disciples to take heart or to cheer up because He had overcome the world. The verb “overcome” is a military term and denotes the spiritual victory won by Jesus. He overcame Satan at the cross.
Followers of Jesus can rejoice that He gives them victory over tribulation and that He has overcome the world.
Note: As a new believer, a friend used the letters of the word joy to explain to me the meaning of joy. His simple explanation is still relevant today.
The letter J reminds us that real joy is found only in “Jesus.” We must nurture our daily walk with Jesus Christ by spending time alone with Him. He alone can give us the joy that transcends life’s ups and downs.
The letter O reminds us that there is joy in serving “others” in the name of Christ. Serving others should be an overflow of a vibrant personal walk with Jesus Christ. We cannot love Jesus and ignore the needs of others. His love prompts us to serve.
The letter Y reminds us of the pronoun “you.” If we put ourselves first we miss out on genuine satisfaction in life. Real joy eludes those who place personal happiness above spiritual devotion and living for self above living for Christ.