The worst day in history is the source of our greatest joy.
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. 23 At that time you won't need to ask Me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and He will grant your request because you use My name. 24 You haven't done this before. Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.
Have you found yourself enduring a bad day? Maybe a week or a month or even a longer season of life that was incredibly difficult. No matter what the length of the trial, getting through it can seem impossible, without hope you can get so caught up in the situation that you become stuck.
Jesus is speaking to his disciples, it is Thursday night just after a rather eventful supper, first there was a confusing situation with Jesus acting like a servant, then there was the departure of their friend Judas, followed by the prediction that Peter would deny Jesus.
Jesus keeps talking about leaving them, where is he going? They were supposed to be governors in his kingdom! If he is going to die then how will we see him again in a little while? Why isn't Judas back yet?
The disciples are at the beginning of the worst days in their life, soon they will see their best friend be brutally beaten, none of them can see that this dark moment is going to be the best thing that could ever happen. I cannot imagine seeing a friend die in such agony. We like to think that we would have done better but I doubt that we would given the confusing and desperate situation.
They couldn't understand that the cross that brought them so much grief was going to be their greatest source of hope. Jesus spent a lot of time letting them know what was coming and encouraging them to refuse to give up hope.
Why does he give us joy?
He is a sensitive Savior (Psalm 103:13-14)
He is a suffering Savior (Hebrews 4:15, 5:7, 12:3)
He is a risen Savior (1 Corinthians 15:17)
The apostles were transformed from fearful, defeated, confused men into bold witnesses who were willing to suffer and die because they saw the risen Lord Jesus.
How does he give us joy?
Showing us the glory of the cross (Acts 2:23; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30)
Giving us an eternal perspective (Psalm 73:1-28)
Being our mediator (John 16:23-24)
Showing us a risen Savior (1 Peter 1:8)
Your grief will be temporary, your joy will be timeless!
Jesus doesn't minimize their sorrow or tell them to man up. The same love and compassion that brought him down here to live in this dark world is the same love and compassion that wants to ease the sorrow as he prepares his closest friends for his departure.
There is no way that they could understand that the bad days that are coming are nothing compared to the joy that is on the way. (Romans 8:17-18) They will soon realize that the very event that brought them all of this sorrow is the source of their eternal joy.
My worst day is nothing compared to the days that were coming toward the disciples. I need to remember that Jesus is just as compassionate about my bad days as he was to his disciples. He would tell me that I will see him soon and all of my sadness will be turned into joy.
The disciples excitement and joy after the resurrection is nothing compared to the joy that we will experience when we step into heaven and see Jesus in our forever home. Think about that when life gets hard.