In John 16:33, Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Therein lies our hope: the fact that Jesus has overcome the world.
“How did He overcome the world?” you ask. By defeating its ruler, of course. “And how did He defeat the ruler of the world?” By dying on the cross. Colossians 2:15 tells us that Jesus “disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Just like in any battle, the conqueror and victor will have authority over the domain of the defeated ruler. In this case, Christ has authority, all authority on the earth. And not just on the earth, but also in heaven because He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father (Col 3:1).
This is wonderful news indeed. But wait, there is something even better.
Now that Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, what authority do we, believers in Christ, have? The answer: the same authority.
Before you shut me out and label me a heretic, I hope that you will hear me out.
The reason I say that we, believers, have the same authority that Christ has is because we are members of His Body. Can the Head have a different level of authority as the rest of the Body? No, because they are one. The Body will have whatever level of authority the Head has. So if Christ the Head has all authority on earth, then His Body will also have the same authority. It needs that level of authority to do the work that Christ wants to do on the earth. With any lesser authority, the Body will not be able to accomplish much.
John, in his first epistle, tells us that not only has Christ overcome Satan, we too have overcome him by virtue of being a God’s children. As God’s child, you have God’s Spirit dwelling in you and “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 WSV). Later, in 1 John 5:4, John says that you overcome the world by your faith; your faith is “the victory that overcomes the world”.
“Why did John say, on one hand, that I have overcome the world and, on the other hand, my faith is the victory that overcomes the world?”
Here’s an illustration to help you understand what John just said, in case you were a little confused by it. Liverpool is a great soccer team. Imagine that Liverpool is scheduled to play against the Singapore national team, a semi-professional team. At once, the outcome is predictable: Liverpool will emerge victor because of their superiority. But they cannot be declared the winner until they have played the game…and won. Likewise, while it is true that we have already overcome the world because Christ has defeated the ruler of this world, we must have daily victory as we overcome each and every thlipsis that come our way.