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Why Did Jesus Tell Us to Be of Good Cheer?

So, friend, in the mess and muddle of your life right now, may I remind you of the powerful words of Jesus, be of good cheer. He is worth putting your hope in and worth trusting to see you through!

Jul 19, 2022
Why Did Jesus Tell Us to Be of Good Cheer?

There are some verses in the Bible that my pastor would say are fridge verses. Verses that appear as positive ones that you could place on your fridge to encourage you, such as “Fear not for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10) or “For I know the plans I have for you” (Jeremiah 29:11). However, these same verses are often taken out of their original context.

Even this verse we are studying today could be categorized in the same pool of verses we could have on a bumper sticker or our kitchen fridge.

It reads in the King James Version: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Why Are We Told to Be of Good Cheer?

What an encouraging and bold verse to hold on to and declare. But friend, if we study deeper into John 16, we see that these words are spoken by Jesus to the disciples in a way of preparation and as a warning to them.

Jesus is predicting the coming days when He would die, rise again, and then ascend into heaven. All these events have been prophesied in the Old Testament, yet the disciples do not seem to understand what Jesus is saying.

He goes on to explain to them that they will have trouble. We see in John 16:32 that it states: “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.”

But earlier in verse 16, He informs them of another who will come and be with them when Jesus leaves, called an advocate. We see this in verse 7 as He says: “Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

The word advocate here is parakletos, clearly referring to the Holy Spirit. The job of the parakletos was to be a comforter, intercessor, consoler, and helper, and would later meet them in Acts 2.

This meeting would happen in a small upper room and change the church forever by baptizing them in the Spirit.

And so, within all this information we read the words, “be of good cheer,” or “take heart,” I suppose the question we must ask is what this meant for the disciples and what it means for us today?

We have already addressed the fact that this verse is part of a warning sign to the disciples, not to fear but to trust in Jesus as He knew of the future and how things would work out for them.

He knew the next few years would be hard, they would be persecuted, bullied, outcasted, and most would be murdered for honoring Jesus. Most of us who read these words will have no real concept of what this really means.

Our home countries and the places we live are relatively free in comparison to others. But when we look at the church in China or Korea, for example, we see trouble and strife, but the church grows at an alarming rate.

Do Christians Have to Be Happy All of the Time?

I know we all know that life can throw curve balls, and we can occasionally feel as though we are in the ash heap alongside Job (Job 2:8). So many things can go wrong for all of us, leaving us in despair.

We can lose family to death, abandonment, or relationship breakdown. Our dreams and hopes are dashed and broken, and we feel lost, unsure of where to go next. Our children grow up and dabble in areas that break our hearts — abuse, crime, and addiction.

Our physical health is worsening, and we are grieving our healthy bodies while reading medical reports with little hope.

Our mental health betrays us, and we feel that life is not worth living. Our spouse finds another person to love, and we feel thrown to the side and abandoned, wondering what is wrong with us?

All of these examples can lead us to dark places, and joy that brings light and life to our world feels like a flicker about to blow out.

It is in this moment, friends, that the last words I would want to hear are “Be of good cheer,” and yet these are the declarative words of Jesus.

However, He is not simply saying, chin up, stick a smile on your face, or look at the positives. Rather the Greek word here is tharseite and means, to be of good courage, or be bold.

Now those are words that I can get behind. Often when things go up in the air, we can tend to lie under them and be discouraged. But Jesus is telling us here to be bold and have courage.

Maybe for you, that means being bold enough to pray for healing to pray for reunification, to pray for your loved ones.

Maybe that means being bold in speaking out against injustice, standing for what is right, and to be present for those who are just like you who are in need. Maybe that means having the courage to trust God to deal with your problems and knowing that He will do what is right.

Maybe it means having the courage to open your Bible and learn more about Him, trusting God is close even when He feels a million miles away.

The New International Version of this verse reads: “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.”

You see, the reason Jesus tells us to have courage and be bold is because He knew what the disciples didn’t. Jesus would soon die, rise again three days later, and then ascend into heaven, placed at the right hand of the Father, interceding for all of those who would believe in Him.

Jesus knew the end of this verse, that He would overcome the world. That He would be victorious, prevail, subdue, and conquer. There is nothing that can happen to you, around you or beside you that Jesus cannot help you to deal with, that He cannot help you to overcome.

What Does This Mean?

So, friend, in the mess and muddle of your life right now, may I remind you of the powerful words of Jesus, be of good cheer, have courage and be bold because Jesus is the victor, the conqueror and the one who has prevailed over all of sin and all of hell. He is worth putting your hope in and worth trusting to see you through!

If you do not know Jesus in this way, please get in touch with us or your local church. We would love to introduce you to Jesus.

He loves you with a deep love, so much so He died on the cross to pay the penalty of your sin and rose again, offering you a new life with Him.

Why not consider the options you have in front of you? You can live this life on your own or alongside the best friend you could ever ask for!

For further reading:

Why Should We Not Worry about Tomorrow?

Do Christians Have to Smile All the Time?

What Does It Mean to Be Content in All Circumstances?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/digitalskillet

SWN authorMichelle Treacy is a Christian writer, a wife to Gerald, and a busy mother of three, Emily, Ava Rose, and Matthew. Finding time to write is not always easy. However, Michelle’s desire to write about Jesus, and passion to teach is what motivates her. Michelle writes on Instagram Michelle_Treacy_ and for CrimsonSeasCA. Also, on WordPress at Thoughts From My Bible. If you meet her in person, you will likely find her with two things in hand, a good Christian book, and a cup of tea!

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These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.

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