Summary: Connecting with life eternal brings more meaning into our present moment.
Empowered by the Joy of Life Within
Series: A Journey with Jesus (through the Gospel of John)
Brad Bailey – March 13, 2011
One of the things that stands out about the nature of children… is that the immediate moment is everything. It is hard to get past the moment… after all… life hasn‟t developed enough sense yet about fulfillment that comes in time. As we get older we begin to understand that the drive is connected to the destination… that there is more at hand. I say we only begin to understand this because we still can still get stuck seeing only seeing what‟s immediately at hand. But if we develop this perspective more and more in our human lifetime, it tells us that if someone could transcend all of time… they could discover the ultimate power of how to live now by being connected to what is ultimately at hand.
> That is what Jesus bore… and this morning we hear him tell us how we can now enjoy the same ability to connect what we might face in the present with an eternal reality that exists within us.
John 16:20-33 (NIV) 16 "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me."
20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. 25 "Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father." 29 Then Jesus' disciples said, "Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God." 31 "You believe at last!" Jesus answered. 32 "But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
These words come at a point in which it‟s not hard to imagine what his followers were feeling. Jesus has been telling them what he must face but they haven‟t wanted to hear it.
They have been in denial… and now that is being pierced and they are about to face potential despair.
When it comes to the reality of suffering… of hardship… most of us live between denial and despair. There are problems we don‟t want to face… aspects of life that are painful and we want to avoid… because we fear that we will only face despair. So we live between these two forces.
> That is what Jesus speaks into. He transcends both denial and despair in what he himself bears.
Notice what Jesus does NOT say… he doesn‟t allow for denial… or trivializing the reality of hardship… he says „you WILL have trouble.‟
If you have ever thought that knowing Jesus meant never facing problems…never feeling pain…let that false idea go. Jesus was a man „acquainted with sorrows… grief.‟ Jesus was about to endure a pain beyond anything we can imagine.
Life (in this temporal realm) will include trouble… problems and pain that are real.
Jesus makes one thing very clear: Spiritual maturity is not a matter of escaping the problems and pain that life in this world will include. It is true that becoming more mature in how we manage life will help us avoid some unnecessary hardship… but there is no genuine form of being more „spiritual‟ or‟ blessed‟ that escapes trouble. Life has pain… we can try to avoid it… medicate it… but we are divorcing ourselves from reality. We have a lot of culturally popular forms… often even religious forms.