In the end, Jesus always wins. There may be a time before the end when it doesn’t look like he’s going to, but in the end, he always wins. Always.
He’s so confident of his ultimate victory, that he would tell his disciples that even though they will one day face extreme persecution, they should take heart because he would win in the end.
John 16:33 (ESV) – I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
The world and Jesus hit the mat for a great cosmic wrestling match, and Jesus won. He could say so before his arrest because he had not succumbed to the temptations this world had to offer him. Never once. He always fully and finally resisted temptation. He always won.
He could say this during the crucifixion, which is basically what he said when he severed his spirit from his body by the sheer act of his own will and committed his spirit into the hand of his Father. No one ultimately took his life from him. He willingly laid it down. No one else has ever done this. He beat death to the punch and ended his life by saying that was what he was doing. In doing so, he was showing death who was really in charge. From all outward accounts, it looked like he’d lost. But the Grim Reaper knew better. Jesus won.
He showed this when he rose from the dead that first Easter morning. The ladies with their spices went to anoint his body because they thought he had lost. But they found an empty tomb, folded grave clothes, and a risen Savior. He won.
The landscape of church history has victory stories strewn all over it. People died in faith in Hebrews 11 before the coming of Christ, and the author presents them as victorious. The same is true for the countless martyred souls who wait under the heavenly altar crying “How long, O Lord!?” How long till what? Till you come back and win! In the end, as always, Jesus wins. The disembodied spirits know it.
Now, do you know it?
How can Jesus win in your life right now? How can Jesus win in the life of somebody to whom he says, “I have overcome the world”? The answer is he wins by encouraging you. “Take heart.” Why? Because he wins in the end, and because the guarantee of that ultimate victory fuels a temporary and victorious encouragement in the heart of the hurting believer who takes him at his word.
Is my temporary encouragement a final win for the Lord? No. But it’s certainly a foretaste of the final world-wide win that Jesus has already guaranteed through his death and resurrection. The encouragement I enjoy through Jesus right now might hardly make a dent in this world. But it’s big for me, and it keeps me going, taking each next right step, even when life is hard.
If I’m looking for my greatest joys in this life, then I’m going to be either up and down and up and down and up and down and… Or I’m going to be down all the time. But when I turn my eyes to the Lord in faith, take him at his word, consider the fact that he’s overcome the world, long for that ultimate victory, and find my greatest joys in him and that day of final rest, then I can find enough encouragement to flesh out what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8–9 (ESV) – We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed… So we do not lose heart.Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
What do we see when we look at eternal and unseen things? What do the eyes of faith see? We see that Jesus wins. And I win too. Because I’m joined to Christ by faith, I get the “W.” Or as John said in 1 John 5:4 (ESV) – For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Jesus wins. I win. We win. I hope you find that to be of significant encouragement today!