Jun 09

Part 64: When Sorrow Turns to Joy

Todd Pruitt |Series: The Gospel of John |John 16:16-24

This passage is the seventh of eight sections in Jesus’ Farewell Discourse. Each section is tied together by the larger purpose of spurring on the disciples to stay the course in spite of sorrows and persecution. Their faithful labors will be more than matched by the presence and provision of the Triune God. In the first three sections following the prologue (13:31-38) Jesus explains to the disciples their relationship to him. In the final three sections of the discourse Jesus turns the disciples’ attention to their relationship with the world and their future existence. This passage is the final section of the discourse which is followed by the epilogue (16:25-33).

Here Jesus instructs the disciples concerning how he will turn their sorrow into joy and how the Father will provide for all their needs in the “name” of the Son. Though some of the content of the discourse had unique application in the lives of the apostles, here the application may be drawn more broadly. There is nothing Jesus says in this section which Scripture does not elsewhere promise to all of God’s people.

Jesus calls us to see our lives in the larger context of God’s completed work in history. The eschaton is where we get our word eschatology, or the doctrine of last things. Jesus’ view of the end of history (eschaton) is key to understanding most of what he taught. And that is certainly true of what Jesus and the apostles taught about joy and hope. We are a people engineered for the future. We are geared for hope, to look ahead with only joyful expectations. And that joy is to bleed into this life though it is often marked by sorrows. Knowing Christ does not eliminate problems in this life. However, Jesus does mean to banish anything that would presume to extinguish our cause for rejoicing. For the Christian, the life to come with all of its glory and perfection and joy is as secure as the nails which fixed our Lord to the cross. And so today there is sufficient cause for rejoicing.

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