I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
John 16:33, NIV
Dear Father in heaven, in the world we are full of fear; in you we have peace. We pray that your Spirit may give us the joy of your heavenly kingdom and the strength to live in your service. Remember those who suffer pain, who still have to walk paths of fear and distress. Grant them help, to the glory of your name. May we be united in hope and in expectation of what you will give through your great goodness and faithfulness. Amen.
The context of the words of John 16:33, NIV
John 16:25–33 completes Christ's combination of encouragement and warning as He prepares the disciples for His impending arrest (John 18:1–3). This passage summarizes the general message of that discourse: that hardship and persecution will come, but believers should remain faithful, knowing this is all part of God's knowledge and His will. Rather than reacting in panic or doubt, followers of Christ should feel a sense of peace. This confidence is inspired by knowledge that nothing they experience catches God by surprise. The expression "take heart" implies courage: knowing Christ's victory overshadows all those troubles.
Throughout His teaching in the Last Supper (John 13:1–5), Jesus has often brought up the fact that He's giving His followers advance warnings (John 13:19; 14:25). His intent is to provide encouragement—persecution as a result of their faith is inevitable. In keeping with that reassurance, Jesus again promises the coming of the Holy Spirit. He explains that after a time of deep sorrow, His followers will experience great joy and clarity. This concludes with a beloved promise that Christ has "overcome the world."
Meaning of the words
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world"
Christ's words, recorded here, are among the most cherished in the gospel of John. This statement combines teaching, remembrance, warning, and encouragement. Becoming a Christian does not guarantee an easy life. In fact, Jesus has made it clear that following Him can lead to persecution (John 16:1–4). The joy held by born-again believers comes from knowing that Christ has already obtained ultimate victory, and nothing in this world can undo that (Romans 8:38–39). That Christ made it clear, in advance, that hard times will come (John 15:20–21) should reassure believers: these situations do not take God by surprise.
Several times during the Last Supper, Jesus has pointed out that He is deliberately giving advance warning (John 13:19; 14:25; 16:4). His explicit purpose for this is encouragement; rather than reacting in fear or confusion, Christians should be aware that those experiences are part of God's greater plan. The book of Hebrews, especially chapter 11, celebrates heroes of the faith who chose to "hold fast" and trust in God. That trust, Scripture shows, was well-placed, even if fulfillment of God's promises didn't come until after those believers had passed into eternity.
The "peace" Jesus speaks of is not worldly comfort, or even happiness. This is the confident "rest" (Matthew 11:28–30) believers experience when they set aside anxiety (Matthew 6:25–34), and trust God to work out His will.
As is common in both ancient literature and biblical prophecy, Jesus speaks of something guaranteed by God as if it has already happened. Prior to this Last Supper (John 13:1–5), Christ overcame the temptations of a human life (Hebrews 4:15) and the direct lures of Satan (Matthew 4:1–11). The greater victory, however, will come after His arrest (John 18:1–3) and crucifixion (John 19:18), when He is raised from the dead (John 20:19).
This final statement of confidence leads into one of the holiest portions of the Bible: Christ's High Priestly Prayer in chapter 17.
In the Last Supper (John 13:1–5), Jesus has often brought up the fact that He's giving His followers advance warnings (John 13:19; 14:25)