Summary: Jesus continues his walk toward Gethsemane and shares with the Disciples some of the contrasts which they would experience in the near future.
5 15 2016 “Contrasts to Come” John16:16-33
There are many ironies and contrasts in being a citizen of God’s Kingdom and a Follower of the Lord Jesus. Jesus covers some of those contrasts which the disciples would soon experience as He is walking on the way to the Garden of Gethsemane to face His execution.
We pick up our study in John16:16: "A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father." 17 Then some of His disciples said among themselves, "What is this that He says to 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'?" 18 They said therefore, "What is this that He says, 'A little while'? We do not know what He is saying." 19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, "Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'?
Jesus’ Disappearing Act
Jesus again reminds His disciples of His upcoming “disappearing”: "A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”(16) before He would “disappear”, He would be lifted up on the cross as the sin-bearer for all to see, and after His physical death and His resurrection there would be those few days when He would disappear. This could be what Jesus meant in verse 16.
Another possibility could be the time between Jesus’ ascension (40 days after His resurrection) and the Spirit’s appearance on Pentecost (50 days after His resurrection). Jesus would be bodily away from His Disciples because He would ascend to His Father in Heaven
but as He promised, the Holy Spirit would descend upon the disciples and abide with them forever at Pentecost.
Jesus again demonstrates the unity between Himself, the Father, and the indwelling of the Spirit with believers. Jesus came from the Father, having been in perfect existence with Him from all eternity. Jesus promises the Spirit who will come FROM the Father after He returns to the Father, implying that the Spirit has also existed with the Father and the Son from all eternity. We have the undivided unity of the Trinity or Tri-Unity.
I love the fact that John throws in the character of Jesus’ Omniscience-that He is all-knowing even while He has temporarily put on human flesh. Verse 19 says: “Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, "Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'? The wording is very interesting: Jesus not only knows our thoughts but also our desires. There is no hiding from Him: He lived in the flesh and can very easily identify with our thoughts, fears and desires. There is truly no one like our Lord and Savior!
Reaction and Benefits of Jesus’ Departure
Look at some of the reactions and benefits of Jesus’ Departure in verse 20-22: “Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”
There would be times of intense sorrow ahead for the disciples; the Jesus whom they loved as Rabbi and Master would die a horrible death as Savior. They would weep and lament His loss, while at the same time, the hateful realm of mankind would rejoice at having killed Jesus. The intense sorrow of Jesus’ followers would be turned into joy. We see that in the book of Acts as the Church, the body of Christ, is born into the world. One of the central descriptions of the early Church is that they had exceedingly great joy: there was the realization that Jesus had died for their sins and that He had arisen for their justification.
They experienced Jesus as the Bread of Life and the Light of the World. They knew Him as the Door for the Sheep and The Good Shepherd who laid His life down for His sheep. Jesus became for them the resurrection and the life, the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus was indeed the True Vine of Israel, producing the fruit of Righteousness so that anyone who was grafted into Him by faith, would receive the very life of Christ. They possessed abundant joy and met together daily to praise their RISEN Lord and Savior. Even through severe persecution, their joy in the Lord Jesus remained full; it was indestructible joy because it was the joy of the Lord Himself.