Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || VIDEO
Jesus said, “I speak these things to you so that you have peace in Me. In the world you will have tribulation. But have courage; I overcome the world.”
Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
((5. Oops!: Is Jesus accurate?))
That doesn’t sound right, does it? What Jesus said: “I overcome the world.” He’s right about the tribulation. We’ve got that: trials, troubles, struggles, hardships— tribulation. Lockdown, shutdown, downturn—tribulation. Virus, hunger, death—tribulation. Temptations, sins, “other great shame and vice”—tribulation.
But He says, “I overcome the world.” But it just sounds like nice words, doesn’t it? So, is Jesus half wrong here?
((4. Ugh!: Then what’s changed?))
Now, we don’t want to admit that. Maybe we’re just telling ourselves, “Jesus can’t be wrong,” as some nice idea. But Jesus says, “I overcome the world.” So, look around you? Look around! Does you sitting in your living room instead of church look like Jesus overcame the world? Does our family groups sitting some 6-8’ apart look like Jesus overcame the world?
The tribulation is still here. There’s no end to it. The sins we do daily and much to the people we love. it seems like the less we do, the more we’re in on place, the more the sins multiply. And the full weight of trouble from the pandemic and its fallout is still waiting to be felt. And besides our own sins, the worldly trouble, there’s the fact that worst statistic and model is this: one out of everyone of us will die.
“Jesus you said that you’ve overcome the world. But the tribulation’s still here. So, if you’ve overcome it, but it’s till here, then what’s really changed, Jesus?”
We need to repent. Not just of our sins against God, but of our unbelief. Our problem with what Jesus says isn’t a problem of our observation. We can see and observe and experience the tribulation of the world. Our problem is one of definition.
We set the terms for what tribulation is. Maybe it’s broad. Maybe it’s narrow. But tribulation, sadly, is only what we experience. And does tribulation even include the temptations we experience and the sins we do daily and much? Or is it just we can’t spend or do as much as we want? And really who cares what your neighbor experiences? You’re in a tough spot!
If how we think about tribulation is off or at least not complete, you can bet that how you think about Jesus overcoming the world is also off. We think He means He’ll fix our problems. But that’s not what Jesus is talking about at all.
((3. Aha!: Jesus died and is risen!))
So, here we are. Confronted with Jesus’ promise (“I’ve overcome the world”), we’re left wondering, “Then what’s changed? What are you even talking about, Jesus?” We’re stuck on Jesus’ Word.
No better place to be stuck really. Because everything has changed! Jesus isn’t out to lunch. He isn’t giving pie in the sky ideas that have no bearing on reality. There’s no empty “the sun’ll come out tomorrow” with Jesus. He’s not half wrong.
Everything is different! Everything’s changed! Sure, reality is “in the world you have tribulation.” Reality is one out of everyone of us will die. But reality also is one out of everyone one of us will rise again from the dead!
Everything has changed! Jesus died and is risen from the dead! That’s what Jesus is talking about! That’s what Jesus means by “I overcome the world.” Listen to more of Jesus’ Word.
“The hour is coming when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone.” That happened at Gethsemane.
“Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” That’s Calvary! “Father into Your hands I commit My Spirit.”
“I have come from the Father and into the world, and now I’m leaving the world and going back to the Father.” His Resurrection and Ascension!
((2. Whee!: JESUS REALLY HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD.))
Jesus died and on the third day came back to life! That’s everything. Jesus dead on Good Friday and alive again on Easter—both those things change everything. Jesus dead on the cross and alive outside an empty tomb mean JESUS REALLY HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD. Can you get much more overcoming the world that coming back life?
Jesus is right with both things: “In the world you will have tribulation. But have courage; I overcome the world.” Of course He has! JESUS REALLY HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD. “He gave Himself as a ransom for many,” and He’s alive again, “never to die again.”
JESUS REALLY HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD. He overcame the world by being overcome by the world. He overcame your sin, by being overcome by your sins, by “becoming your sin,” as Paul says. Jesus shed His blood for them, for you. He overcame the devil by being overcome by the devil. At Calvary, “The ruler of this world,” the devil, “is judged.” Jesus overcame death, your death, no matter how you die, by being overcome by death itself. And He’s blown death apart from the inside out by coming back to life again on the third day.
((1. You overcome the world, too, but only in a Jesus way.))
JESUS REALLY HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD, and that means you overcome the world, too. As we prayed in our Psalm today, “Praise the LORD for His steadfast love, and His wondrous words for the children of men.” JESUS HAS OVERCOME, and you do, too, but only in a Jesus way.
As we get stuck on His Word, cling to His Word, so we get stuck on His crucifixion and resurrection. He overcame by His cross and empty tomb, and that’s how you overcome, too. It’s not just that He was crucified for your transgressions and raised for your forgiveness. No, His death on the cross and His coming back to life again are yours. The forgiveness and freedom and victory over sin that He won for you there are also yours! Jesus makes all of it yours! His cross, His empty tomb, His forgiveness.
Everything is different for you. “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.”
There’s peace, true peace in Jesus overcoming the world because nothing can undo it! Jesus died. Jesus came back to life. You’re baptized into that. There’s peace enough to endure and have courage in a world full of tribulation. Not peace in yourself. “I speak these things to you so that you have peace in Me.”
Peace in Jesus because JESUS REALLY HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD. He’s died and risen, and you’re baptized. You’ll die and rise again, too. In Jesus, in Baptism, you already have! In Jesus alone, there’s peace not just to endure, but peace enough to go to your heavenly Father in prayer about the tribulation. To bear your heart to Him. You’re baptized. Jesus is your Brother, His Father your Father. “In that day you will ask the Father in my name, and I‘m not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf; the Father himself loves you.”
Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!