“For I have conquered the world!”
John 16:33 (TPT):
“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!”
Jesus told his friends that they could have courage because he had conquered the world. Shortly after, he was killed. Murdered. Executed on a Roman cross as a traitor, a heretic, and a terrorist. Not the kind story arc you would pick for a Divine messianic supreme conqueror.
Which gives us a hint at the nature of the kind of conquering Jesus was into.
When I think of a conqueror, I think of men and women wielding swords and defeating their foes.
The image in my mind is almost always violent. Us versus them. Winners and losers. Someone standing over the top of someone else.
Jesus didn’t conquer the world around him through domination, violence, and control. He conquered it within himself. He refused to fight violence with violence, control with manipulation, deception with more deception.
“The way of Jesus is not to divorce yourself from the world… but to bring it even closer. Jesus made the world his home. That’s how he sought to show us the way… by bringing it in front of our very eyes, in our very lives.”
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He conquered the system by refusing to play the game.
And yep, that meant that he was crucified. But it also meant that he forgave, that he had compassion, that he made room at the table for those who had been exiled from it, that he spoke to and touched and healed those who were “off limits” and deemed culturally unacceptable. And more.
The book of John says that:
“The Word (The Christ) became human and made his home among us.” (John 1:14 NLT.)
The way of Jesus is not to divorce yourself from the world… but to bring it even closer. Jesus made the world his home. That’s how he sought to show us the way… by bringing it in front of our very eyes, in our very lives. Not distant with a sword and a decree and an army and power. But within us, in our homes, right under our noses.
When my son or daughter is at the height of distress, I’m tempted to banish them from my sight. It’s chaotic and messy and annoying and painful. But you know what I’ve found helps the most? Not sending them away, but drawing them into my arms and holding them close. So close that they can feel my heart beat next to theirs, and my hands on their stiff backs, and my breath in their tiny pale ears.
“A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love.” (Marianne Williamson).
We conquer the world by loving it with the kind of love that moved Christ into the neighborhood and raised him from the dead.
At home in the world is exactly where we are needed most.
Written by Liz Milani