Jesus' Victory Is Our Victory
In John 16:33, Jesus states, "I have overcome the world." Victory has been won...right? In one sense, yes, but in another sense, not quite yet.
In one sense, Jesus won a decisive victory through his resurrection. Jesus rescues his people from “the world” (John 16:33), which I believe is shorthand for everything that’s set in opposition to God, including Satan, sin, and the consequences of sin.
Jesus overcomes it all and rescues us from it all through his resurrection. Many in the world will continue opposing God and by extension the people of God, but praise be to Jesus that the victory has been won.
And yet, I think we all sense that there’s something incomplete about the victory. After all, we still face opposition. We still suffer trials of various kinds. So Jesus won the victory, but we haven’t yet experienced the fullness of that victory. We haven’t yet seen that victory become real and manifest in every aspect of life.
You might compare it to the end of World War II, when the Japanese officially surrendered to the Allied forces. As soon as those surrender documents were signed, victory had officially been won. The Allies had defeated Japan had officially won the war.
However, the fullness of the victory hadn’t yet come to all of the islands in the Pacific. Some of the islands were so remote and communication with some of the Japanese soldiers was so difficult that there were numerous Japanese soldiers who mistakenly kept on fighting even though the war was officially over.
In fact, I even read about one Japanese soldier named Hiroo Onoda who didn’t really believe the war was over and kept on fighting until 1974—twenty-nine years after the war officially ended. He received some leaflets dropped from airplanes that the war had ended, but he thought the Allies were trying to trick him. So he just kept on fighting.
Finally, the Japanese government managed to track down his commanding officer, who by that time had taken up civilian life as a bookseller, and the commanding officer traveled to the island where Mr. Onoda had stationed him and formally relieved him of duty.
Now of course, Mr. Onoda was a bit unique for the amount of time he continued fighting after the war was officially over. But there were Japanese soldiers throughout the Pacific, especially in the first few weeks and months after Japan’s official surrender, who were still fighting the war.
So you might say that the Allies officially won their victory over Japan when Japan signed the documents of surrender, but that victory took a while to become universally real and manifest. And it’s the same way with the victory Jesus won through his death and resurrection. He won the victory, but the fullness of that victory has yet to be seen.
However, we’re told that one day it will be seen. And it will be seen in a very visible and powerful way. Revelation 19:11-21 records how, one day, Jesus will triumph over his enemies and reveal his glory to the world.
And thankfully, for those who belong to Jesus, his victory is our victory. So be encouraged: the best is yet to come.