Joy in a Hopeless World

Sunday, February 23, 2014

“These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 KJV).

In the midst of a hopeless world, in Christ, we are joyful!

Hopelessness—such is the lot of sinners in a fallen creation. The psalmist questioned, “Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? Why hidest thyself in times of trouble? (Psalm 10:1). Despondent Job, longing for death, declared, “For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters” (Job 3:24).

In the context of today’s Scripture, our Lord Jesus is preparing His apostles to bear the worst life experience they have known. They do not understand it yet, but they will soon witness horrific events—Messiah’s arrest, torture, and death by crucifixion. Their King will perish, and their whole world will be destroyed. They will experience such grief and despair.

Just hours before the awful events on Mount Calvary, Christ encouraged His Little Flock. He consoled them in today’s Scripture, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” No matter what happened—to Him or to them—they were not to allow their circumstances to distract them. They were to have such joy, such happiness (“be of good cheer”), not because they were suffering, but because Jesus Christ had already conquered the evil world system that was originating their persecution! In the midst of their troubles, He gave them His peace, an inner capacity to handle those problems as mature believers.

Israel’s Little Flock would have difficult days ahead, but, “in Christ,” they would have God’s joy. Likewise, in this world filled with grief, uncertainty, and suffering, “By [Jesus Christ] we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:2-5). 🙂