John 16:20-25

In John 16:20-25 Jesus continues the preparation of His disciples for what is rapidly coming.  “The world will greatly rejoice over what is going to happen to me, and you will weep. But your weeping shall suddenly be turned to wonderful joy when you see me again.”  Most of the world will be ecstatic with Jesus crucifixion, but Jesus knows His disciples will be sorrowful.  He encourages them to realize that the sorrow won’t be long lasting. Jesus knew they would be plunged into deep and dark sorrow in the next few hours. He also knew that God would, by His power and grace, turn their sorrow into joy.

In what ways will this sorrow stike?  Guzik writes the disciples were:

  • · Sorrowful at the loss of relationship
  • · Sorrowful at the humiliation of their Master and Messiah
  • · Sorrowful at the seeming victory of His enemies
  • · Sorrowful because all they hoped for was taken away

But Jesus tries to explain that it won’t be long lasting at all. “It will be the same joy as that of a woman in labor when her child is born—her anguish gives place to rapturous joy and the pain is forgotten.” The sorrow is extreme and intense for a short period, but then transforms to joy.

That’s the picture Jesus paints for His disciples. “You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and then you will rejoice; and no one can rob you of that joy.” Joy is something that we choose – no one can take it from us – not even the religious leaders who made the decision to crucify our Savior.  The disciples had no idea how Jesus’ death would impact them.  But Jesus gives them a promise – a direct line to God – for their needs. “At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything, for you can go directly to the Father and ask him, and he will give you what you ask for because you use my name.” When Jesus returned, the disciples would be so overjoyed the last thing they would be focused on was asking Him for things.

But Jesus promises answers to their prayers. “You haven’t tried this before, but begin now. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and your cup of joy will overflow.” Because of Jesus’ great work, the disciples have unlimited, undeniable access to God through Him. The disciples had yet to really pray in the name of Jesus, but He would teach them very soon how to do that. “I have spoken of these matters very guardedly, but the time will come when this will not be necessary and I will tell you plainly all about the Father.”  Jesus has been spoon feeding them to this point, but their eyes and ears will soon be opened to the truth of God’s Kingdom and plans for eternity.

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