John 16: 16 - 24
This is a passage where Christ promises that your sorrows will be turned to joy. He started speaking directly about his coming death and departure. This is one of that discourse.
Your sorrow will be turned to Joy
V19,20 : Christ says that initially, there will be sorrow but that sorrow will be turned to joy.
The death of Christ was not meant to be ended as a disaster or sorrowful event. But it was leading to immeasurable joy.
V21, 22 : Talks how joyful they will become. We may tend to take this as the second coming of Jesus Christ. It’s true that we reach the climax of joy at the second coming of Christ but primarily seeing the resurrected Christ is the joy that Christ is mentioning about. At the death of Jesus Christ, the world rejoiced and disciples cried but it lasted only for 3 days. Within that time their sorrows turned into immeasurable joy. The risen Christ was the source of their joy.
The situation outside was not favorable to the disciples, but as Paul states 2 Co 6:10 “sorrowful yet rejoicing”. The world’s joy is temporary but Christ gives his believers eternal joy through his death and resurrection. One of the commandments in the Bible is to rejoice or be joyful. Being joyful is the natural state of a Christian. However, we don’t always experience that joy.
Reason behind their joy
Knowing the meaning of the cross was the reason of their joy. That cross gave them forgiveness of their sins and the power to forgive others sins. They realized that their life is eternal. Is the cross of Christ the source of our real joy? Its possible that when we live in this world we can put our joy in the things of the world but that’s temporary. It can never satisfy us. Our possessions, career growth, friends cannot give these joy.
Seeing the resurrected Christ, gave them the realization that they were not following a human guru but they were following a person who had command over death and life. When we partake from this table it’s a reaffirmation of that fact. We should realize how much we are forgiven and the one whom we remember at this moment is not just a man but the one who name is above all names.His divinity was attested by his resurrection. Seeing the resurrected Christ was the only solid evidence for the disciples that they were following a God all these years.
v22: Joy that none can take away
The specialty of the joy that Christ gives is none can take away that joy. They gathered everyday; they broke bread, feasted everyday. The persecutions during their time could not stop their joy. Wherever they were scattered they preached about Christ. Meeting together, spending time together, sharing gospel, suffering persecutions were joyful occasions.
Let us realize the depth and meaning of the cross. Let us once again reaffirm our minds that we are following the one who is risen and who has power over death and life.
Perhaps we may say that if we would have seen that risen Christ, we would also be like that. Peter writes to certain believers who are suffering in 1 Pet 1:8,9. Loving him, believing in him is the source of inexpressible joy.
May this help us to have that joy in us always. Let us not be joyful in the things of the world or what world gives. As John Piper states “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”.