(1) I - the son of Mary and the Son of God; I – the child born at Bethlehem, the child who is called the “Everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6), the Creator of heaven and earth.
(2) the world - The Bible teaches us that the world is both fallen from God and loved by God.
The Bible warns us:
“Do not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2).
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).
Nevertheless, the Bible also tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
Taking these two aspects of the Bible’s teaching together, we learn two lessons:
First, we are loved by God;
Second, we are to love God.
We must not take God’s love for granted. we must not live as the world lives, with little thought for God or His Son, Jesus Christ.
God’s way of overcoming the world is a rather strange way. It is not the way of brute force. it is not the way of worldly power. It is not the way of the dictator. God’s way is the way of love. God’s way centres on a Babe born in a stable, because there was “no room at the inn.” It centres on a young Man, put to death on a Cross “outside a city wall.”
Christ’s victory is not a matter of uncertainty. He has won the victory. His victory is a fact which we must believe. It is a fact upon which we must build. In our own conflict with evil, we must take our stand on Christ’s victory.
When Christ, from the Cross, cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30), this was not a cry of despair. It was a shout of victory. Jesus had triumphed over all the powers of evil. Jesus won the victory for us. Through Christ’s victory, we can now say, “In the Name of Jesus, we have the victory.”
Jesus’ words, “I have overcome the world” come to us in the context of “tribulation.” Jesus does not only speak to us words of triumph and victory. He also speaks a word of realism: “In the world you have tribulation.”
We don’t like to hear about tribulation. Perhaps, we feel that it doesn’t fit in with the Christian message. we must not, however, live with our heads in the sand. we must not pretend that life is something different from what it really is.
“In the world you have tribulation” – this is a painfully accurate description of our human experience in this world.
“In the world you have tribulation” – this is not all that Jesus says to us. He also says, “I have overcome the world.”
“In the world you have tribulation” – these are the words which we must face honestly if we are to really appreciate the greatness of Christ’s triumph over all the powers of evil.
“In the world you have tribulation” – this is the dark backcloth against which the Christian message is set.
“In this world you have tribulation.”The years of our life, in this world, are passing. We are moving ever closer to the end of our life on this earth. This is something which makes us anxious.
There is the anxiety which comes upon us as we think of wasted opportunities to trust Christ, to confess Christ, to serve Christ.
There is the anxiety which comes upon us as we think of the future. The question of the future, the ultimate future, is always before us: are you ready to meet the Lord, your Maker?
When we consider the things which make us anxious, we may wonder, “How can I be of good cheer”? We began by hearing and believing Christ’s words, “I have overcome the world.” We take His words and we stand upon them and, through faith in Christ, the triumphant Victor over evil, we say, “I have overcome the world.”
Whatever is happening in the world around us – in our own personal world, in the world of our own local Church and community, in the world of our nation and the Church in our land, in the world of the nations and the Church’s worldwide mission, we take our stand upon Christ’s words, “I have overcome the world.”
Whatever is happening in our world, we can still be of good cheer because we know that God is still the God of our salvation. We can face the future with the joy of the Lord because we know that Jesus is with us still. We don’t know what may yet lie ahead of us – “In the world you have tribulation”, but we do know this: the risen, living Lord, Jesus Christ who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) still says to us, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
We may have to face difficult times. We will not have to face them alone. We will face them with Jesus. Whatever difficulties may come our way, let us draw strength from the words of Christ, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”