Lesson 93

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

16:16 A little while, and you will not see me. Again a little while, and you will see me."

16:17 Some of his disciples therefore said to one another, "What is this that he says to us, 'A little while, and you won't see me, and again a little while, and you will see me;' and, 'Because I go to the Father?'" 16:18 They said therefore, "What is this that he says, 'A little while?' We don't know what he is saying."

16:19 Therefore Jesus perceived that they wanted to ask him, and he said to them, "Do you inquire among yourselves concerning this, that I said, 'A little while, and you won't see me, and again a little while, and you will see me?' 16:20 Most assuredly I tell you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 16:21 A woman, when she is in travail, has sorrow, because her time has come. But when she has delivered the child, she doesn't remember the anguish any more, for the joy that a child is born into the world. 16:22 You therefore now have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.

 Today's Lesson 

Jesus had been trying to explain to His disciples that He would soon be leaving them. They would not see Him where He was going, but they would not be left alone. The Father would send "another Counselor" and this other Comforter would bring the life of the Father and the life of the Son to them. Together, God would be with them forever.


Then Jesus told them that, "A little while, and you will not see me. Again a little while, and you will see me." His disciples did not understand how to take this saying. Indeed, without the hindsight of history, we would have a difficult time understanding it as well. We know that Jesus was trying to tell them that He would die in a little while and they would not be able to see Him. And, He was also saying that in a little while after His death they would be able to see Him again. Whether He was speaking specifically about His resurrection or the indwelling life of the Spirit is open to conjecture. But, in any case, He wanted them to know that they would not be left alone. Even though He was leaving them soon, He would be returning to them.


But, they still could not understand. People did not return from the dead in their own experience. The exceptions of Lazarus and the others that Christ had raised from the dead only proved the rule. Without Jesus, they would not have been raised. If Jesus were to die, who could possibly raise the man who had raised others from the dead?


So, Jesus tries to explain to them that their situation is like that of a pregnant woman. For a time, she undergoes pain and discomfort because of her desire to give birth to her child. When her time has come, she has pain and travail. In the same way, the time of pain and trials had come for these disciples. They were about to witness the execution of the Teacher and Leader that they had so much invested in. They had left their homes and occupations to follow Jesus of Nazareth. Now, He was about to experience the worst conceivable death imaginable.


But, when the woman gives birth, her sorrow turns to joy! Suddenly, the child arrives and a wonderful child of her own is the reward for the pain that she has endured. In the same way, the sorrow of the disciples will turn to joy when they come to realize what God has accomplished for them. When they experience the power of God that will raise Jesus from the dead, they will see that all of their sorrow is worth the price for what has been achieved.


In the same sense, God tells us that the trials that we endure are part of the process of living in Christ. If we will have faith in the one who called us, God will turn our sorrow into joy as well. No one is trying to minimize the sorrows that Christians endure. But, God has promised that the rewards that we receive will far surpass any trial that is undertaken in the name of Christ. If we see each trial through and continue to trust and believe in the Son of God, our reward will be great in Christ.


Do you have the faith that will see you through the trails to come? If your faith is placed in what Christ has achieved for you, then even a grain of faith will suffice. Trust only in Christ and your sorrow will turn into joy one day soon as well!


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