Summary: In today’s passage we see Jesus encouraging his disciples by telling them that their grief will turn to joy. Not only would they have joy, but they would have complete joy. In this passage I see seven reasons why our joy is complete.
“AND YOUR JOY WILL BE COMPLETE”
INTRODUCTION: In the previous verses, Jesus is explaining to his disciples that he’s going to be leaving them but it is actually a good thing because then the Holy spirit would come. In today’s passage we see Jesus encouraging his disciples by telling them that their grief will turn to joy. Not only would they have joy, but they would have complete joy. In this passage I see seven reasons why our joy is complete.
1) Our joy is the opposite of the world’s (20). The disciples, who knew and loved Jesus, would grieve when he was killed. But the religious leaders and haters of Jesus would rejoice at his death. But the disciples would have joy again at his resurrection. The world doesn’t feel any grief over what happened to Jesus. For the Christian, however, we are touched and emotional over his suffering. To the world Jesus’ resurrection is met with apathy, disbelief or hatred. To the Christian, Jesus’ resurrection is the reason for our joy for without Jesus’ resurrection we have no hope. The world’s source of joy is opposite of the Christian’s. The “joy” the world offers is no comparison to the complete joy that is found in Christ. For someone of the world their joy is found in worldly things like money, material things, power or status. But the Christian’s joy is found in Christ. It’s found in the things of the Spirit. It’s found in things like going to church, praying, reading the bible. It’s found in godly fellowship and intimacy with Jesus. It’s found in belonging to Jesus and it’s found in obedience to Jesus, it’s found in living for Jesus. What the world tries to pass off as bringing joy comes up way short. It may bring a temporary happy feeling but it’s not sustained. So when we buy what the world sells we are selling ourselves short. C.S. Lewis said, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.” We continue to settle for the trinkets of earth instead of pursuing the treasures of heaven. We settle for the momentary pleasure of what the world offers and forsake the continual joy Christ offers. Our joy will be complete when we realize the polar opposites between what the world has to offer and what Jesus has to offer.
2) Joy helps us to forget our sorrows (21). “Your grief will turn to joy”. Jesus dealt with grief. Jesus understood the disciples would be grieved. The disciples had seen grief turned into joy when they witnessed Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. Their grief over Jesus’ death would turn to joy when they saw his resurrected body. Their grief over Jesus leaving them would be turned to joy when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. Jesus knows we will face grief of many kinds. He uses the example of a woman’s labor pains turning to joy when the baby is born. The hours of pain is overshadowed by the joy of holding her newborn baby. Think of when a child is lost. There is pain in not knowing what happened to him. But when the child is found there is great relief and joy that supersedes the pain and grief of the fear and separation they were experiencing. We will have pain and grief in this world but that will be overshadowed when we are forever with the Lord. 2nd Cor. 4:17, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Our troubles seem anything but light and momentary. However, that’s what they are, compared to the eternal glory that is coming. Our grief will be so overshadowed it will make our troubles seem like nothing at all. We will forget all about the pain when the glory comes. “In a little while”. The disciples would have to deal with their grief for a little while before it would be relieved and turned to joy. A little while seems like eternity when we’re suffering. Eight hours seems to fly by when you’re having fun but if you’re a woman who’s been experiencing intense labor pains for eight hours it seems anything but a little while. We don’t want to have to wait for joy. We don’t like to have to endure through pain and suffering. That’s why we run to worldly means to deal with it. We delve into drugs, alcohol, food, etc. to escape and mask our pain. We turn to things other than God to deal with our grief. The irony is the things we run to are only temporary that in turn don’t alleviate the grief; in fact they often add to it. God challenges us to deal with it by trusting him and waiting on him. We want the relief and joy to be instantaneous but Jesus doesn’t promise that. He does promise us that at some point, if we stay in his will and continue to trust him our grief will turn to joy. The joy of the Lord dispels my grief.