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Grief Turned to Joy

(John 16:16-33)

I. Introduction.
A. Orientation.
In our passage, we see
Jesus preparing for His departure
Back to His Father in heaven
By way of the cross.
Its not that He needed to get ready
He was ready at all times to do His Fathers will,
Willing to make any sacrifice He might require,
Because thats what He was always doing.

When obedience is the only direction of your life,

You dont find yourself having to shift gears
Between living for yourself and living for God
Youll always be ready to serve Him
Because thats what youll always be doing
Thats the kind of life Jesus lived.

It was the disciples who werent ready for Jesus to leave

They needed comfort,
They needed to be reassured
That they would have what they needed

Once Jesus was gone
And so Hes been preparing them
By telling them what they could expect
Thankfully, in the Lords mercy and grace
He has also provided these things for us
All of which He means to give us joy.

So what did He tell them?

He told them to stop worrying
He was leaving to prepare a place for them in heaven,
And He would return to bring them home (14:1-3)
This is the ultimate promise of assurance:
If youre trusting Jesus,
You will see heaven
What could give you greater joy than that?

He was going to heaven,

But He wouldnt leave them as orphans
He would send another Helper
Who would be a Father to them
Even as He had been (14:15-31).
His Spirit is still present
In the hearts of His people by faith
Bearing witness to our hearts

That we are the children of God
Another source of joy.

He knew they didnt have the ability

To do what He had called them to do,
But the Spirit would give them power
The power to bear good fruit,
To do what He commanded
From the heart,
Out of a desire to glorify God
And in so doing He also assured them
That they would find the same joy
He found in obeying His Father (15:1-11)
The same joy we experience
When we surrender ourselves to Jesus.

And yes, the world would hate them

Because their lives and message
Would be full of the light of Gods truth.
But the Spirit would restrain the world
Through His convicting power
And would bring His people to salvation
Through their message (16:1-15)
Even as He promises to do through us today

Giving us the comfort of protection,
As well as the joy of seeing the lost come to the Savior.

B. Preview.
In our passage, Jesus points out two more things
That would increase their joy:
First, they would be grieved by His death,
But seeing Him again would fill them a joy nothing could take away.
And second, through His death, His glorification,
And the coming of the Spirit of adoption,
They would have the joy of direct access to the Father in prayer.

This morning, were going to consider the first,

And the second, this evening.

II. Sermon.
A. First, Jesus tells them that there was great grief ahead, but also great joy.
He says in a short time He would be gone,
And then in a short time, He would return.
We read in verse 16, A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a
little while, and you will see Me.
He was talking, of course, about His crucifixion and resurrection.

This was their last evening together.

In a very little while
They would leave for Gethsemane to pray,

Where Jesus would be arrested,
Tried by the Jews and condemned,
And handed over to the Romans for execution.

But it would also be a short time

Before they would see Him again
It was now Thursday evening.
He would die and be buried on Friday,
And He would rise again on Sunday.

But they didnt understand what He was talking about.

We read in verses 17-18, Some of His disciples then said to one another, What is
this thing He is telling 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? So they
were saying, What is this that He says, A little while? We do not know what
He is talking about.
Its interesting that Jesus had already told them about His death
That He was going to be killed,
That He was going to the Father,
That He was leaving to prepare a place for them
But they still didnt understand.
They just couldnt seem to get past
The idea that was common among the Jews
That Jesus was there to bring an earthly kingdom,
And that meant He couldnt die.
Remember what we read in John 12:31-34, Now judgment is upon this world;
now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the

earth, will draw all men to Myself. But He was saying this to indicate the kind
of death by which He was to die. The crowd then answered Him, We have
heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say,
The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?

Even after Jesus rose again,

And spent another 40 days with His disciples
Teaching them about the kingdom of God,
Just before He ascended,
They asked Him the same question:
We read in Acts 1:6, So when they had come together, they were asking Him,
saying, Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?

Jesus didnt answer their question directly

Since they still werent ready to hear about the Fathers plan
To bring both Jews and Gentiles together into one body/church
But He did tell them what they needed to know
To do what they must do in verses 7-8,
He said to them, It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has
fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has
come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all
Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

Jesus doesnt always tell us what we would like to know,

But He will always tell us what we need to know.

Jesus knew what they were thinking

And so He explained Himself a bit further.

We read in verses 19-20, Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He
said to them, Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, A little
while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me?
Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will
rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.

They still didnt know what He meant, but

Standing on this side of the cross,
And with the rest of the story in our hands
We do.

In a just a few hours, they would grieve

Because Jesus
The One they loved,
The One they hoped would redeem Israel (Luke 24:21)
Would be put to death.

They would also grieve

Because when the time came for His arrest,
They would fail to stand with Him.
They would all abandon Him
Leaving Him to face these things on His own
And yet He would not be alone.
He says in verse 32, Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to
be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not
alone, because the Father is with Me.

The world, on the other hand, would rejoice.

Jesus told us last week,
Not to be surprised if the world hates us
Because it hated Him first.
The world wanted to kill Him
Because He exposed the evil in their hearts (John 3:20).
When they thought they had succeeded,
They began to celebrate.

But their celebration would soon come to an end,

And so would the disciples grief
Jesus would rise; and the disciples would see Him again.
And even though they would be ashamed
Because of how they had behaved,
The assurance of His love and pardon to them
Would banish all their sorrow
And give them great joy.

Jesus says in verses 21-23

That their experience would be similar
To a woman giving birth:
Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when
she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the
joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore you too have grief now;
but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your
joy away from you. In that day you will not question Me about anything.

Seeing that they were still a bit confused,

Jesus finally lifts the veil and speaks more directly to them
In verses 25, and 28-31, These things I have spoken to you in figurative
language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative
language, but will tell you plainly of the Father. . . . I came forth from the
Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to
the Father. His disciples said, Lo, now You are speaking plainly and are not
using a figure of speech. Now we know that You know all things, and have no
need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God.
Jesus answered them, Do you now believe?

Jesus had come from the Father into the world to save them.
Now He would complete this work by laying down His life,
Returning to the to the Father
And pouring out the blessings He had promised.

But now to the point:

Why was Jesus telling them these things?
He says in verse 33, These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may
have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have
overcome the world.
They were moving into a very gloomy time:
Jesus was about to be betrayed and killed.
It would look like their hopes were permanently dashed to pieces.
But that would not be the case:
They would grieve,
But their grief would turn to joy.
They would be tempted to think
That this had all been for nothing,

But He would give them
The settled peace that its all true.
The world would threaten them,
But in spite of this, they could have courage
Because Jesus would continue to stand by them.

B. Application.
We dont have to face
The particular trial they did:
Jesus has already been to the cross,
Hes already been raised,
And has ascended into heaven
We can have the joy of knowing
That He isnt dead, but alive;
And that everything He said was true
We have been saved from our sins
If we have put our trust in Him.

If you havent trusted Him,

I urge you to do so this morning.

But there is a trial we do have to face

The same one the disciples had to deal with
After Jesus left and returned to heaven:
The trouble were bound to meet with in this world.


Were not in glory yet.

We still have the work Hes given us to do:
To bring the Gospel
To a world that is hostile towards Jesus and us.
The work will be hard.
There will be times of grief
Grief over our failures and sins,
Grief over our apparent lack of success,
Grief over the declining condition of the world,
Grief from the times when our faith weakens.

But lets not forget what Jesus has provided through His work:
Joy, peace and courage.

We can have the same joy the disciples had:

Knowing that Jesus is real,
That He is alive and well in heaven;
And that one day, He will bring us home.

We can have joy knowing that were connected to Him,

That His Spirit lives in us and gives us power:
Power to do the work Hes called us to do,
To bear good fruit,
To glorify the Father.


We can have joy in the expectation

That as we give ourselves more to Him,
We will experience more of His love,
And store up more treasure in heaven.

We dont have to be anxious: we can have peace.

We know that because Jesus is alive
And rules and reigns from heaven,
That He will take care of us,
He will work all things together for our good,
And He will bring us to that place He has prepared for us
We can know its all true.

And we can have courage, knowing that Jesus has overcome the world.
The world hated Him and put Him to death.
But they were only doing what the Father planned,
So that He might overcome His enemies and ours:
The enemy of our souls that would have destroyed us,
The world that hates us,
Our sins that would have condemned us,
And our flesh that would fight against us.

Jesus has given us everything we need

To do what He has called us to do.


That doesnt mean its going to be easy,

But it does mean that its possible:
We simple need to trust Him and move forward,
Knowing that, by His grace, we can
And that should give us joy.
Thats what the Table reminds us of this morning . . .