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On what basis can believers be of good cheer (John 16:33)?


be of good cheer
Question: "On what basis can believers be of good cheer (John 16:33)?"

Answer:
Jesus told the disciples to “be of good cheer” (John 16:33) just as they were about to face the darkest, most troubling time of their lives. The Lord would soon be leaving them (John 16:5–7), and He knew that severe persecution, suffering, and the possibility of death awaited each of His followers.

The disciples were grieved and confused as Jesus explained, “In a little while you won’t see me anymore. But a little while after that, you will see me again” (John 16:16, NLT). They would all scatter, and most would abandon Him at the cross (John 16: 32). But soon after, their doubt and fear would be transformed into faith and peace: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NKJV).

In the original language, the words translated as “be of good cheer” (NKJV) or “take heart” (NIV, ESV, NLT) can also be understood as “be bold,” “be confident,” or “be courageous” (CSB). Jesus taught the disciples that inner peace and courage amid tribulation could only be experienced through abiding in Him (1 John 2:28).

In the world, believers encounter persecution and suffering, just as Jesus did (Ephesians 3:13; 2 Timothy 1:8; 2:3). Jesus said the disciples would soon be “handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues” (Mark 13:9). The world would despise them (John 15:18–25), and some would be martyred for their faith (Acts 11:19).

Despite being hated by the world, believers can be confident and courageous based on the knowledge that Jesus Christ has overcome the world. As Christians, our lives are “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). We are born of God (1 John 5:1), and “everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4; see also 1 John 2:13–14).

We can be of good cheer because we’ve learned how to trust the Father in every situation (Romans 8:28). We don’t have to live in fear because we are secure in His love (1 John 4:18). We know that, if God is on our side, no one can stand against us (Romans 8:31). And nothing can separate us from His love—no trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, poverty, danger, or conflict (Romans 8:35–39).

Even if we face the threat of death, we can say, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). The apostle John asked and answered this question: “Who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5, NLT). We can be of good cheer because Jesus conquered the world. If we believe in Jesus and belong to the Father, we too have overcome the world because the One living in us is greater than the one in the world (1 John 4:4).

Inner peace is ours in Jesus. He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). While the world offers only trouble, threat, and danger, followers of Christ do not have to be anxious or afraid. We can be of good cheer because we belong to the One who overcame the world. Nothing in this world can harm us because we triumph through our Lord Jesus Christ in the end.

Recommended Resource: John: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament by Edward W. Klink III.
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