The meaning of John 16:33 NKJV, NIV & ESV
John 16:33 is one of the most comforting scriptures in the Gospel of John among many. This verse includes comfort, warning, encouragement, and victory. The challenges of life do not have a timetable, neither do we get informed before they occur. They just occur unexpectedly and they leave worries and sorrows in our hearts. No human being on earth can escape hard times or tribulations because they are part of life. They are there to test our faith.
Striving to become like Christ is not an easy task neither does following Him guarantee an easy and smooth life. Jesus reminded us in John 16:2 that following Him might even lead to maltreatment to the point of death.
“They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.”
Regardless of what we face or what comes our way, take heart and be of good courage, Christ has come to conquer for us. Glory!
Who wrote John 16:33 and when was it written?
The Gospel of John 16:33 was written by Apostle John. It was written in AD 130 -200.
What is the context of John 16?
The context of John 16 is about the promise of everlasting joy for the disciples after all challenges and difficulties that they may encounter. It also talks about the works of the Holy Spirit when Jesus will no more be with them.
Jesus prepared the mind of the disciples of the persecution that awaited them when He left. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to them, whom He referred to as the Helper, who would help them and would convict the world of sins, righteousness, and judgments. Jesus also referred to the Holy Spirit as the mediator, who will hear from Him and declare to them.
The disciples became sorrowful and began to wonder among themselves, what Jesus meant in chapter 16 verse 16 by saying “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”
Jesus assured them of the joy they will experience after all torments, sorrows, and weeping. He likened this to a woman in labour who has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. (John 16: 21)
Disciples were also admonished to pray directly to God in Jesus' name and they will receive whatsoever they ask and their joy may be full. Remember Psalms 30:5 says,
“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”
The chapter ended with Jesus proclaiming that in Him they will have peace, in the world they will have tribulation. He told them to be of good cheer, that He has overcome the world.
What is the message of John 16:33?
The message of John 16:33 is about the inner peace and the victory Christ gives His followers who rely on Him when faced with tribulation. Jesus knows we cannot overcome on our own so He assured us peace and victory at last in times of tribulations.
He said we will have tribulations in the world but in the midst of it, there will always be a way out. We will be able to walk through it with purpose and peace. Tribulations do not apply to Jesus’ disciples alone but to all who follow Him.
Paul the Apostle informs us in II Timothy 3:12 that “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
Believing and following Christ does not only guarantee all the good things of life, it also contains persecution, but Jesus assures us peace and comfort in the midst of it all.
However, if your trust and hope are not in Christ, His encouragement of ‘be cheerful’ in times of trials, will not apply to you. But if you trust Him, rest and peace are guaranteed in times of hardship or trouble.
As Christians, we must not be weary or frightened when faced with trials. I Peter 4:12-13 tells us to rejoice in trials,
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy”
Hence, we cannot overcome trials in our strength and power but in Christ.
“These things I have spoken to you” meaning
‘These things I have spoken to you’ talks about the words of comfort by Jesus to His disciples. Jesus promised never to leave nor forsake us. He informed His disciples that He will send the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort them in their trials when He is no more with them. What a loving Father we have.
We must take Him by His words, for they are forever settled. Jesus will not give us commandments that He has not given us the capacity to keep. He will always empower us through the help of the Holy Spirit.
“That in Me you may have peace” meaning
“That in Me you may have peace” is about the inward peace promised to those who are faced with sorrows and difficulties. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, He gives it freely to those who have faith in Him. When you abide in Him, and He in You, you will experience His peace.
It is not the kind that the world gives, Jesus gives ‘confident’ rest from the troubles of life. The peace that the world gives is experienced through the happenings around us which is external (Happiness). The peace we are talking about here is inward. It flows from the inside. It is called Everlasting Peace.
John 14:27 informs us of God’s peace, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jesus wants to replace that fear with peace.
Are you worried or anxious and in great need of peace? Are you trapped in the weight of your challenges or tribulations? The Prince of Peace is calling on you, He wants to give you peace and rest roundabout. Come as you are, don’t shut the door against Him. Receive Him today.
“In the world you will have tribulation” meaning
“In the world you will have tribulation” talks about the persecution that will be faced by believers as long as they are still in the world. This is a warning to believers, there is no avoiding it. Jesus warned believers about the troubles they will face in life. If Jesus can experience pain and sufferings in His earthly ministry, how much more believers?
This is the reality that believers must face. John 17: 14-15 says, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”
“But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” meaning
“But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” talks about the guaranteed victory that will be experienced at the end of trials. It is a word of courage that is meant to strengthen us for the battle ahead of us. Whatever has a beginning must surely have an end because every problem has an expiry date.
Although there are troubles in the world He assures us that we can have peace. With Him our lives are safe. The world is really in shamble and gloom, people need to come to Christ and come out of the world. He is the only one that can overturn things around for our good.
Paul the Apostles states in II Corinthians 4:17-18 that “ For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Jesus is the head of all principalities and power. He is also the giver of salvation and has won the victory. He won over death, which is the last enemy that will be defeated. There is no other conqueror as Christ, we should be encouraged by this truth. Without a doubt, we can be of good cheer.
What is the biblical meaning of “Tribulation”?
The biblical meaning of Tribulation means the persecution of all who follow and obey God’s word and commandments. Tribulations come sometimes for the will and purpose of God to be delivered in our lives, and also for our faith to increase.
We all are faced with tribulation, trials, or temptation at one point or the other in our lives. If we must move from one level of glory to a higher one, we must pass the faith test.
Persecution must come, it comes in different forms to different people. John the Baptist was beheaded because he spoke out against the adultery committed by Herod (Acts 6:21-29). Prophet Elijah spoke against the prophets of Baals and the sins of Idolatry committed by Israel and was persecuted by Jezebel (I Kings 18:16-25).
Hebrews 10: 36 tells us that “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:” When it comes, we must be patient, endure and have faith in God and we will come out victorious
What is the difference in biblical translations of John 16:33 (NKJV, NIV & ESV)
John 16:33 NKJV biblical translation says:
“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 NIV biblical translation says:
“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 ESV biblical translation says:
“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.”
There is no difference in translations between NKJV, NIV and ESV.
NIV states that “in this world, you will have trouble” which means the same as tribulations as mentioned in NKJV and ESV. However, NIV and ESV also mentioned “But take heart” while NKJV says, “but be of good cheer” which means the same
Misunderstanding of John 16:33
Some people misunderstand John 16:33 by leaving all their problems at the feet of Jesus and expect magic without taking responsibility. You cannot overcome life struggles without first being His child. You must have accepted Jesus and confessed to Him as your Lord and saviour. You are also expected to be filled with the Holy Ghost for you to experience His love. Otherwise, you will keep rising and falling.
John 14:27-29 says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”
Nothing can separate us from Jesus. Not challenges, trials, sorrows, persecution, or death because Christ already overcame death on our behalf.
Oftentimes, some believers think they are immune to troubles and challenges. When some are faced with hardship or difficulties, they tend to challenge God and call Him a liar or even distance themselves from Him. This ought not to be so. Jesus already gave us warning that in the world, there is tribulation but He is offering us peace amid the trouble, that at the end we will overcome it.
Remember that an invitation to rest and peace was given to us by Jesus in the book of Matthew 11:28-29
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am [gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” With Jesus, we will have peace for our souls.
How do I apply John 16:33 to my life?
Applying John 16:33 to my life is to live in the reality of the eternal joy and peace no matter the challenges you are going through.
Jesus is telling us to take heart in trials, temptations, and troubles. The world we live in is a world of sin, evil, and death. Jesus defeated Satan when He went to the cross. He broke and destroyed the power of sin and death through his sacrificial death. Sin and death cannot have dominion over us any longer.
Cheer up for Jesus has overcome the world. That affliction will not last. He did not just leave us but He left the Holy Spirit with us whom He has assigned to be our custodian. Stay firm in love with God, and be bonded with Him.
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16). You cannot abide in God and be defeated.
Romans 8:35-36 says “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Therefore, don’t ever think defeat, Christ lives inside of you and you belong to Him. He is Your help and strength. You will walk through that trial and tribulations as if nothing ever happened.
What is a John 16:33 prayer?
Awesome God, thank you for Your words of comfort. Help me to cast all cares and burdens upon You. In times of trials and difficulties, give my soul rest and peace. Grant me strength by Your Spirit to align with Your words for truly You have conquered the world. To You alone be all the praise and honour. This I pray in Jesus name. AMEN
Jesus didn’t say we might experience tribulation, He said it will surely happen but be cheerful, Jesus gave His life to overcome the world through His death and resurrection. We cannot overcome on our own, but through the help of the Holy Spirit, prayer, and total faith in God, we will overcome every problem.