26. Grief into Joy

‘Last Supper Lessons’ Meditations: 26. Grief into Joy

Jn 16:20 “I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”

As the month is rapidly nearing an end, we now jump on into chapter 16. This is not such a comfortable chapter. It starts, All this I have told you so that you will not fall away,” (v.1) and “now I am going to him who sent me.” (v.5) There is some comfort, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” (v.13) He speaks about going and coming again, and they are confused (v.16-18) and then comes our verse above.

Even as chapter 13 was about Jesus’ awareness and Jesus being in control, so is this chapter. After they leave this room there is coming a time of great anguish for them. Many in the world around them will be rejoicing but for them it will be a time of anguish, of fear and of failure, but if they hang on and remain steady in it all, joy will come with the morning. Look past the weeping, it is only temporary, joy will come with the morning. When it appears dark, remember night is always a limited period.  He will bring joy in the morning.

Whoah, let’s go over that again more slowly. There seem four phases in this verse. First, there is the overall sweeping statement: “you will weep and mourn.” That does not sound good, that sounds bad. Then comes the context – the world will be rejoicing. Then comes the reiteration, you will grieve. Finally, there is hope – “your grief will turn to joy.” It is, we can now see with the hindsight of history, what will soon come about – his arrest, trial, crucifixion and death – and they will mourn and grieve. It will be a horrible time. The religious leaders and the people bribed and egged on by them will be rejoicing. For the religious hypocrites, the thorn in their side will have been removed. They can return to the normality of their powerless, ritualistic religion once he is gone. His provoking and prodding will have been brought to an end.

Oh yes, for them a time of rejoicing (for the time being.) But for the disciples behind their locked doors, it will be a time of guilt, shame, self-recrimination, grief, anguish and wondering. Yes, this has got to come. It is part of The Big Plan. You can’t have the redemption of the world without all these things. But then, as always, there is a word of hope. Even in the days of the prophets of old, there may have been strong words of condemnation and judgment, but there was always the hope for a faithful remnant. Now, for this little faithful remnant, hidden away, that grief and anguish will be replaced by an incredible joy. However tough the present, watch for the joy the Lord WILL bring. Be patient.

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