The Gospel of John: a commentary & meditation 
"Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world"

Scripture: John 16:29-33

29 His disciples said, "Ah, now you are speaking plainly, not in any figure! 30 Now we know that you know all things, and need none to question you; by this we believe that you came from God." 31 Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? 32 The hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, every man to his home, and will leave me alone; yet I am not alone, for  the Father is with me. 33 I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."

Meditation:   How did Jesus convince his disciples that he was the Son of God?  Jesus could read their hearts like an open book.  He answered their questions before they could even speak them out.  And he showed them the glory of God.  For a Christian, believing in God cannot be separated from believing in the One he sent, his "beloved Son", in whom the Father is "well pleased".  We can believe in Jesus because he is himself God, the Word made flesh.  Because he "has seen the Father", Jesus is the only one who knows him and can reveal him. Our faith is "certain" because it is founded on the very word of God who cannot lie.  Faith is already the beginning of eternal life.  Basil the Great says: "When we contemplte the blessings of faith even now, as if gazing at a reflection in a mirror, it is as if we already possessed the wonderful things which our faith assures us we shall enjoy one day."  Do you nourish and strengthen your faith with the word of God?

In spite of their belief, Jesus warned his disciples that their faith would be put to the test and that they would fail. Jesus spoke plainly about the tragedy of betrayal and the triumph of the cross.  Jesus knew the hearts of his disciples better than they knew.  He knew they would desert him in his hour of trial.  Such knowledge could have easily led to bitterness and rejection.  Jesus met the injury of betrayal and disloyalty with supreme love and trust in his disciples.  He loved his disciples to the very end even when they left him alone to die on the cross.  He knew that the cross would not bring defeat but victory over sin and death.  Jesus speaks the same word to us  today.  "My love for you is unconditional and I will never abandon you". While we cannot avoid all pain and suffering in this life, Jesus, nonetheless assures us that he will guide us safely through any difficulty or trial we may have to undergo for his sake.  Jesus calls each of us to take courage, because he has overcome the world.  The Holy Spirit gives us a living hope in the power of the resurrection and a confident trust in God s abiding presence.  Nothing can overcome this faith and hope in Christ's victory -- no trial, suffering, temptation, or testing.  The Holy Spirit gives us the strength and courage we need to overcome adversity and to persevere in faith. Do you believe that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus (see Romans 8:38-39)?

 "Lord, help me to trust in your saving power, especially when I meet adversities and trials.  Give me your peace when I am troubled and let me know the joy of your victory over sin and death."

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(c) 1999,2001 Don Schwager