Fourth Sunday of Easter - John 16:16-22 - "Your Hearts Will Rejoice"
[John 16:16-22] …. 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
Hymn: TLH 196, I Am Content! My Jesus Liveth Still
Your Hearts Will Rejoice Again
“You will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice.” “You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.”
Jesus was soon to be crucified. The disciples were soon to watch die the one who was everything to them.
Jesus had once said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” [Matthew 10:37]. A hard but positive saying.
Meaning this: Consider the highest relationships in this life. Consider the most binding relationships in life. Mother and son. Mother and daughter. Father and son. Father and daughter. You and your mom and dad – or you and your kids.
And then consider that there is another relationship – unknown to the world – which is more binding and greater than these. Higher than these. Of a greater love than these. The relationship between creature and Creator – the relationship between you and the one who is Lord – between you and the one who is Savior.
Jesus is the one of whom we can truly say – and only truly say – “He is my life”; “He is my all-in-all”. With Him it’s true. And it’s only true of Him. “He is my all, my very life.”
These few disciples were those who had truly come to know their All-in-All and their Life – in the flesh, Jesus. And soon they would see their All, their Life, their Hope, their Savior, die upon wood. They had found the one who was more than all – more than mom and dad, more than son and daughter. And now they would lose Him to brutal death.
On the cross, their Hope and Life would die. They would not understand why. They would spiral into an inward abyss. Some would flee. One would deny Him. Another would despair because of his treachery against Him. Yet another would stand at His cross (John) – and Life’s mother, Mary, would stand and watch her Son die – and sword would pierce her own soul too [Luke 2:35].
“You will lose me for a moment”, Jesus was saying. “The world will rejoice that I die.” “You will weep and lament, but your sorrow will turn into joy – I will see you again.” He is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
“I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” On the third day, He is risen, He sees the disciples again; and upon being seen by the face of the risen Lord, risen upon them, they rejoice – “Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord” [John 20:20].
“I am content! My Jesus liveth still, In whom my heart is pleased …. I am content” [TLH 196].
In this life, you might lose a lot – There is no guaranteed promise to the contrary. You might lose what you think you cannot handle losing. But, with God, all impossible things being possible with Him, your sorrow will turn into joy – because Jesus is risen and lives still and sees you.
More than mom and dad – more than husband or wife – more than son or daughter – “I am content! My Jesus is my Light, My radiant Sun of Grace. His cheering rays beam blessings forth for all, Sweet comfort, hope, and peace. This Easter Sun doth bring salvation And everlasting exultation. I am content! I am content!”
“When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.” Brothers and sisters, you live in the labor pains now, but when the Son of God is delivered unto you on that Last Day, these current pains become a forgotten memory – your hearts will rejoice, and no one – not one – will take your joy from you.
“I am content! My Jesus is my Head; His member I will be. He bowed His head when on the cross He died With cries of agony. Now death is brought into subjection For me, too, by His resurrection. I am content! I am content!”
By Jesus, death is brought into subjection – for you too, by His resurrection. Death – even death that takes others from you – does not conquer you. The only One who is your All-in-All is risen and still lives – “I am content. My Jesus liveth still.”
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning… “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord… For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion… [Lamentations 3:22-33]
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” [Psalm 30:5]
Your risen Redeemer gives you “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” [Philippians 4:7].
Your past and present sins and faults are forgiven. God is at peace with you because of your crucified and risen Redeemer. Greater than all other human bonds, Jesus is everything to you. Don’t lose, for the sake of any, the One who is everything. Hold fast to Jesus Christ. He is risen to hold fast to you. Amen.