Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 43

The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 16:16-22.

John 16:16-22 NASB reads as follows:
“A little while, and you no longer are going to see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.” So some of His disciples said to one another, “What is this that He is telling us, ‘A little while, and you are not going to see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” So they were saying, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is talking about.” Jesus knew that they wanted to question Him, and He said to them, “Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you are not going to see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me’?Truly, truly I say to you that you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy! Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one is going totake your joy away from you.” Emphasis is mine.

What Jesus conveys in this particular Scripture is relatively straight forward and easy to understand. After Jesus dies on the cross He will be buried in the tomb and His disciples will no longer be able to physically see Him. And of course, after Jesus rises from the dead, He will appear to them a number of times over a period of 40 days, at which time they will see Him again.

It’s interesting to note that it states that “some” of His disciples did not understand what Jesus was telling them. You recall that previously Jesus had pretty well spelled out exactly what was going to happen or take place and in John 16:4 Jesus had already explained that He was telling them what was about to happen, so that when the time actually did come, they would remember that Jesus had foretold them about all of this. In John 14:29 previously, Jesus had said the same thing, focusing on the fact that the reason for telling them ahead of time was so that they would believe and have faith in Him. So what this could infer is that some of them did partially understand and maybe some of them did not. Bear in mind that Jesus had already explained to His disciples even previous to this, what was about to take place, starting at washing the disciples feet at the last supper, as noted in John 13. I can’t help but see how Jesus deliberately layered, over and over again, the significance and reality of what was about to happen, to His disciples.

When we consider all that Jesus conveyed to His disciples throughout John 13 to where we are now, in John 16, one begins to comprehend the significance of this particular moment and all the changes that were about to take place. We can more easily comprehend because we know “after the fact” but the disciples did not have that luxury, and considering what these disciples had seen Jesus do and all that He had conveyed to them through the spoken word previously, which included instances where they had worshipped Him as God, the idea that Jesus, being the Son of God, would die would have been really difficult to grasp.

And if we read again through John 13 to John 16, where we are now, the reality and significance of this moment in time begins to really sink in. And had we been there, standing in their shoes so to speak, it is not hard to understand the uncertainty they either collectively or even individually, might have felt.

And then in John 16:20, Jesus says the following: “Truly, truly I say to you that you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy!”

Remember what I noted about the disciples NOT having the luxury of knowing “after the fact”? But Jesus knew!

True, they will weep and mourn but the world (believing Jews and Gentiles all over the world) will indeed rejoice. And true, the disciples would grieve but after the resurrection and Pentecost, their grief would indeed be turned into joy!

Jesus concludes this narrative to His disciples by using the example of a pregnant woman whose sorrow is transformed into joy in the birth of a child and then reinforces the truth of John 16:20 yet once again in John 16:22 which reads as follows: “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one is going to take your joy away from you.

Note the affirmative “but I WILL see you again”.
Note the affirmative “your heart WILL rejoice”.
Note the affirmative “NO ONE is going to take YOUR joy away from you.”

I can’t help but think that we would have had to have been there to honestly appreciate how Jesus conveyed this reality that was about to unfold.

More to follow.

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

8 comments

  1. “And then in John 16:20, Jesus says the following: “Truly, truly I say to you that you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy!””
    Interesting take on this verse, Bruce. I’ll have to ruminate on your interpretation.

    The way I have taken this is while the disciples grieve and mourn the crucifixion, the world, the nonbelievers, will be rejoicing. Throughout John, Jesus speaks of ‘the world’ as in John 15:18, ““If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.”, John 15:19 “The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.”, etc.

    Of course, there are other references to ‘the world’ and, for me, these are clearly about the earth. But, I’m no theologian, so I will have to study on your take.

    Thanks for the lesson!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Gordon, Well it’s definitely possible that my take on the world rejoicing is incorrect but I was also mindful that Jesus Himself said that God our Father so loved the world, so I basically took my lead from there, because we are talking about Jesus’ time or hour coming up when Jesus made all of this possible via the whosoever believes in Him aspect. I see it as a statement of His victory ( O death, where is thy sting) because of His resurrection and you are saying it could be the non-believers in the world rejoicing because of His death. Locally some of the Jews probably rejoiced but the world? Thanks for letting me know, just like you, I never previously saw it as the non-believers possibly rejoicing (the opposite) aspect. Interesting! Blessings!

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s