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FROM GRIEF TO JOY
"Jesus went on to say, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and then, after a little while you will see me.' At this, some of His disciples said to one another, 'What does He mean by saying, "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me," and "Because I am going to the Father"?' They kept asking, 'What does He mean by "a little while"? We don't understand what He is saying.'" John 16:17-18 NIV.
As fully aware of His impending suffering and death on the cross as Jesus was, so unaware the disciples were. They had consistently shut their minds to what He had told them was to happen to Him at the hands of the religious leaders. Not even the Passover meal they had just eaten which He had fleshed out to point to His sacrifice as God's Passover lamb, had alerted them to the ordeal He was shortly to face.
Now the time was almost on Him. No even the darkness of the olive grove could shield Him from the motley army that was gathering in the city to arrest Him and drag Him off to the Sanhedrin for the mockery of a trial. How desperately He wanted to reassure His disciples that His death was a temporary interruption that would issue in very far reaching results for them and for the world.
Had they heeded His words on the many occasions He had told them that He would be killed and would rise again on the third day, what He was now telling them would have been quite easily understood. Going away, as in death, where they would not be able see Him in His human body...and returning to them, as in a resurrection body, where they would once again see Him...for us is all so simple, but for them a complete mystery.
During His earthly ministry they had seen Him raise the dead more than once. Only a few days previously, Lazarus had walked out of the tomb after his body had already begun the process of decay! But He was there in person, doing the miracle by a word or a touch. To understand and believe that He would die and rise again was too much to accept and so His words sounded like nonsense to them.
"Jesus saw that they wanted to ask Him about this, so He said to them, 'Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me'?
"'Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.'" John 16:19-22 NIV.
The resurrection of Jesus is the hope of every person who believes in Him. For the disciples is was His death that brought them inconsolable grief because they thought it was the end of the road for them. But after the grief came the joy and a joy that would never leave them because their Master was alive and He could never die again.
As human beings in a fallen world, we are all subject to the pain of physical and emotional suffering and loss but the promise of God's Word is that there is a resurrection and there is a hope. After grief comes joy. Unlike the experience of people in the world who may participate in the passing pleasures the world offers, like the world in its present state, they are as transient as wild flowers in the field.
"The life of mortals is like grass; they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more." Psalm 103:15, 16 NIV.
"The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:17 NIV.
"For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5 NIV. As for the disciples, so for us, because Jesus is alive forever, we have the everlasting hope that our weeping will be turned to joy." Psalm 30:5 NIV.
As for the disciples, so for us, because Jesus is alive forever, we have the everlasting hope that our weeping will be turned to joy.
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