Joy

Sometimes the words of Jesus just made no sense at all.
Such was the case when Jesus told His eleven remaining disciples that they would not see Him and then in a little while, they would see Him again, all because He was leaving them.

“A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me,
because I go to the Father.”

What was that again? His men protested the illogic of such a statement.

“We do not know what He is saying.”

Jesus could hear their private conversations and, more than that, He knew their thoughts. He had to prepare them for both the sorrow to come and the joy to follow that. As for the deep sorrow:

“…you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice…”

Out of Sync
They were destined to be out of phase with the world. The joy of the sinful world would cause them great sorrow. It has always been so. Those who follow Jesus are often saddened to tears by the thinking and actions of sinful people. Their laughter sends believers to the closet of intercession to weep before the Throne of God. Their mirth is seen as prelude to disaster, their frivolity to great tribulation. On the other hand, Christ-followers sow in tears over the sadness of the world so that they also may reap in joy when the Rescuer intervenes, saving lost souls and healing deep and debilitating wounds.

“…and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.”

Trading Our Sorrows
Only Jesus can perform this astounding transformation—sorrow into joy—but it can be seen in creation itself. Jesus cited childbirth as an example.

“A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come;
but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish,
for joy that a human being has been born into the world.”

We must remember this was an all-male gathering so this very masculine sentiment can be forgiven. The women who loved and followed Jesus might have moderated this view somewhat but the truth remains. Witness the smile of the mother, just delivered from the door of death, when she holds her child for the first time.

Unassailable Joy
They too, were about to come near the door of death as Jesus passed through it. They would weep and lament as they scattered to find their own hiding places. They would abandon the One who had found them and desert the One who had brought them to the gates of heaven.

Then, they would see Him again, see Him as they had never seen Him, with the shining garments of glory draped about Him. The inner circle had seen a glimpse of this on the mountain but soon they would all see Him thus and their hearts would rejoice.

“Until now you have asked nothing in My name.
Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

A new joy would be theirs, a joy deeper than the deepest sorrow, a continuing joy of unlimited answers to prayer. Things would be so different then. Perhaps His words made sense after all.

Scriptures:
John 16:16-24

“A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.” Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.” Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I live in a world marred by the sins of people. The pristine environment You created is now polluted and scarred by the actions of sinful man. And so it is with the lives of people. Created to experience Your glory and be host to the Holy Spirit, people are now ruined and desperate, ravaged by their own choices and misled by the culture. Yet You have come into the world to ravage sin itself and counter the lies of the culture with truth of the Gospel. The result for believers is a joy like no other—Your joy, hard won in the garden of prayer, in the courts of men, on the cross of death and in triumph of an empty tomb! Thank You for this impervious joy! Amen.

Song:
If You Want Joy, Real Joy

Traditional

If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy,
Let Jesus come into Your heart.
If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy,
Let Jesus come into Your heart.
Your sins He’ll wash away.
Your night He’ll turn to day.
Your life, He’ll make it over anew.
If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy,
Let Jesus come into Your heart.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.