“We do not know what he is talking about” and I can understand the disciples’ confusion. Jesus says they won’t see Him and then He says they will. Is He going or staying and what is the part about going to the Father? And how long is a “little while”?
(My real question is why did John decide to put this state of confusion in his narrative? Maybe it was to demonstrate that Jesus knew what they were thinking and wanted to ask Him. Maybe John was trying to describe how little they really understood at the time Jesus was telling them everything. Maybe it was Memphis!)
Apparently though, their understanding was way too narrow so Jesus worked on expanding the picture. In three ways He tells them their sorrow will pass and will result in great joy.
- you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice
- You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy
- a woman is giving birth, …has sorrow…, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish…only the joy
It brings to mind “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Ps 126
They will see Him again – in that day their joy will never be taken away – that is the assurance He gives them.
(Sometimes the grief of living appears to have no rhyme or reason. It appears pointless and cruel and there are days I wonder, what else could go wrong and how much longer? And if I will tell Him, He is willing to open my eyes to the bigger picture. My tears matter in a way I might not understand and it will help if I can remember the product of such travail is new life.)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
God’s thinks of everything. Even though Jesus is going to be out of sight there is a way He has made whereby we remain intimately connected to Him – prayer. Now they are given the freedom to ask the Father for direction and to supply their needs. They are given special access to approach the Father “in Jesus’ name” and the Father will respond. Practicing this relationship will make your joy even more complete.
(With promises like this I wonder why I don’t take Him up on this relationship more often. I confess it is likely because I think of it more as a task with certain needed preparation and presentation. And, with a few exceptions I don’t expect joy to be the outcome. It occurs to me that maybe what Jesus has in mind is more a relationship than an additional project. I’m caught by the “Until now you have asked nothing in my name” so now Ask, Receive and Reap the Joy.)
God has made every provision for an intimate relationship with me.
I think my idea of the joy Jesus is offering is way too small.
About the World?
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. (Ps 30:5)