John 16:16-22 When Sorrow Turns To Joy

by | Jun 6, 2024 | John, New Testament

I. Confusion

A. A Change From What Is Normal V. 16

1. The disciples had spent 3.5 amazing years with Jesus, but everything was about to change

a. V. 16- Jesus described to them what was about to happen, but they had no point of reference to help them understand. Nothing in their lives resembled what He said.
b. He spoke of His soon coming death, to be followed three days later by His resurrection. He would be raised, and forty days later He would ascend to Heaven.

2. For us- Great sorrow often comes when there is a difficult change from what is normal.

a. A steady career suddenly comes to an end. Our finances and ego suffer.
b. Our health or the health of a loved one is suddenly threatened.
c. A break up in a marriage, family, or friendship.
d. The death of someone we love.

B. Confusion Often Accompanies Such Loss Vs. 17-19

1. Like the disciples, there is more than loss that is experienced. There is often confusion.
2. We can sometimes be shocked about how quickly a good thing is replaced with tragedy
3. We can know what God’s word says and yet not know by experience what it means.
4. Sometimes the word of God doesn’t seem to help NOW. The words aren’t reality just yet.

a. Vs. 17, 18- The disciples repeated His words accurately, but didn’t understand them
b. NOTE- Awareness of God’s word doesn’t always equate to an immediate experiential understanding of Scripture. We need to believe God until we experience His answer

5. V. 19- Jesus knew that they were confused, and that they desired to understand.

II. Sorrow & Opposition V. 20a

A. Sorrow

1. Jesus warned the disciples that their initial experience would be weeping and lamenting.
2. We too can find ourselves in situations that cause us to weep and lament.

a. We feel depressed, confused, lack of energy, unable to concentrate.
b. We lose our appetite; we may feel constant anger or sorrow.
c. Like the disciples, our faith is challenged and shaken. Is God real?

B. Opposition

1. Jesus also told them that while they wept and lamented, the world would rejoice.

a. The majority of people in Jerusalem in Jesus’ day thought that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy, claiming to be the Son of God.
b. Many thought that Jesus deserved to die this horrible death upon the cross.
c. Not only would the disciples suffer without the empathy of their neighbors, they would suffer while people rejoiced over the death of Jesus.

2. We sometimes suffer greatly while others are indifferent to our suffering.

a. Sometimes people may lay blame upon us or others for the tragedy.
b. Sometimes people may even be glad over our suffering, feeling that some kind of Divine justice or karma has been served. They say we brought it upon ourselves.

3. One of the hardest parts of sorrow and suffering is the loneliness of it.

a. The majority of people in Jerusalem felt that Jesus deserved to die.
b. The disciples not only mourned, but feared for their own lives as well.
c. To one degree, the disciples suffered corporately, but to another degree, individually.
d. Proverbs 14:10 The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy.

III. Sorrow Turned To Joy Vs. 20-22

A. Perseverance

1. Jesus used the example of a woman laboring to bring forth that which brings her joy.

a. Pregnancy is a difficult enough experience. Morning sickness, various pains, etc.
b. The woman chooses to endure the various discomforts of pregnancy.

2. Then the time for delivery comes, and they call that time labor.

a. It’s not called anything nice or fun, such as “she’s going into resting”, or “she’s going into relaxing”. It’s called labor. The mother labors, knowing that the child will come.
b. “The pain is like having your insides twisted, pulled, and squeezed. If I fought it, the pain became worse. Once I surrendered to and accepted the pain, it was more bearable. It is like getting caught in the undertow of a wave. Being trapped under water is scary — you can fight it and get more scared or you can just let go and wait until the wave releases you. Also, there was an intense searing pain in my lower back, which was helped when my husband applied pressure to it.”
c. Of course, Jesus spoke of childbirth in the days when there were no epidurals, etc.

3. When we suffer with deep, confusing sorrow or disappointment, we need to persevere with hope and expectation in God.

a. Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
b. The mother labors for what she knows will come, but we are often called to labor and persevere for things we do not understand or know.

4. A conundrum to consider- The disciples weren’t exactly sure what was going to happen

a. Jesus told them what would happen, but they weren’t really expecting it to happen.
b. You really can’t say that they were persevering in faith at this point.
c. After seeing Him alive, they would persevere in faith, but they weren’t at this point.

5. Their sorrow was so overwhelming, that we only see them suffering fearfully.

a. We read of no efforts of them trying to cheer one another up.
b. We do not read of them trying to carry on with the work of the Kingdom of God.
c. They simply mourned without any apparent faith in what Jesus had promised.

B. Sorrow Turned To Joy Vs. 20b-22

1. David Guzik– God’s work was not to replace their sorrow with joy, but to turn sorrow into joy, as He often does in our lives. The sorrow would be directly connected to their coming joy, even as the sorrow of a woman in childbirth is directly connected to her joy that her child has been born into the world.
2. V. 22- Spurgeon- “It is most remarkable and instructive that the apostles do not appear in their sermons or epistles to have spoken of the death of our Lord with any kind of regret. The gospels mention their distress during the actual occurrence of the crucifixion, but after the resurrection, and especially after Pentecost, we hear of no such grief.”
3. It is sometimes difficult if not impossible to imagine the joy that Jesus will bring forth from our sorrows, but we can be assured that every sorrow will be answered with a corresponding but exponentially greater joy, either in this life or the next.
4. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Life Group-

1. What thoughts have you had when you have encountered great trials as a Christian?
Surprise, anger, disappointment, confusion? Maybe you weren’t surprised at all, and knew to expect it.
2. Is there a particular scripture that God has used to help you endure suffering without knowing what the outcome would be?
3. What was your emotional experience when the answer to your suffering came? Maybe it won’t come in this life.