Daily Word

Confusion, grief, joy | John 16:16-22

16 “In a little while you won’t see me anymore. But a little while after that, you will see me again.” 17 Some of the disciples asked each other, “What does he mean when he says, ‘In a little while you won’t see me, but then you will see me,’ and ‘I am going to the Father’? 18 And what does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand.”

19 Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again. 20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.

21 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. 

John 16:16-22 (NLT)


The disciples (still) didn’t understand that Jesus had to die and would go to the Father in Heaven…and send the Spirit. I’m guessing when He was telling them prior to this, they were bewildered and didn’t know what to think about it. If any of them did start to understand, they likely rationalized it out of their minds – thinking it was too crazy an idea.


Again, Jesus, knowing the future perfectly, knew the disciples would grieve when He died. He also knew the world would rejoice. Why? Because they (the Jewish leaders mostly) would be happy they rid themselves of this troublesome preacher, prophet, miracle-worker who convicted them of their sin.

The analogy Jesus chose is quite powerful – especially in those days of no pain medication! He was preparing them for unbelievable grief they will experience when they see their master, their hope, their friend mercilessly killed by the Romans in a few hours. All their hope will quickly dissipate and vanish. But that’s Friday…Sunday’s comin’.


Jesus also knew that after His death and separation from the Father He would rise again and bring joy to the disciples (and frustration to the world). I like the wording of the NLT: “your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy”. 1 Peter 1:8 uses similar language: “Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.”

For man, who is bound by time, as the situation changes, our emotions change. But God doesn’t change. The truth never changes. For eternity, faith, hope and love remain. (1 Cor 13:13). 


  • Thank God we have this joy of knowing Christ is risen. He has overcome death and hell. We have hope. We have eternal life. Thank you Lord.
It’s Friday…Sunday’s Comin’

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