“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.” 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’? I tell you the truth, 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. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” “You believe at last!” Jesus answered. “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ” (John 16:17–33, NIV)Jesus says that the world will rejoice and in the very same verse, he tells the disciples, “Your sorrow will be turned to joy.” So what we have here is 2 sets of people rejoicing for 2 different reasons.
The world rejoices because they have eliminated Jesus. They have protected the peace of their society and the security of their religious system. But the followers of Jesus are rejoicing for a different reason. They rejoice because they have been granted peace with God and the security of His forgiveness is beyond what any religious system could ever provide.
Both the world and the Christian are joyful…but for different reasons. Both claim freedom…but for different reasons. Both declare truth…but for different reasons.
And here is the essential difference between the two: One is based on what man accomplishes apart from Christ…the other is based on what Christ accomplished on behalf of man.
So we should ask ourselves: “When I look at my life, where does my joy come from? Does my peace and security come from what I can accomplish apart from Christ or have I relinquished control and confessed that apart from Him I can do nothing?”
You see, the best we can do is patch things together. And that never lasts very long. Eventually our best efforts fall short. But that’s not how God works. God makes things new. And Jesus just said, “that day is coming…”
As we read that passage today, we need to know that “that day” is here. Jesus has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Our peace not based on our faithfulness, but on His. Our joy is not based on our accomplishments, but on His. Our prayers are not answered based on our obedience, but on His.
Our joy is made complete in Christ. The sorrow of His departure turns to joy when He resurrects us into a new life with Him.