Summary: God can give us a joy that lasts forever
Two weeks ago I finally gave in and started getting a subscription to the Boston Globe. I was tired of repeatedly feeling dumb because people would tell me about stuff that was going on in the world and I hadn’t even heard about it. Some people kept telling me, just go online or watch the news, and as easy as that sounds it seems that the only time I go anywhere non-youth ministry related on the web is either sports or music related. The same thing goes for my TV.
I think part of the reason that I have always had a hard time keeping up in the news is because the news tends to depress or disgust me most of the time. I mean, listen to some of the headlines from Saturday’s Globe. ***Read headlines***
It is no hidden fact that the world is full of sorrow and pain. Sorrow and pain aren’t only in the headlines though; they seem to weave in and out of our every day lives as well. We’ve all gotten a bad grade before on a big test. We have all heard our parents fight and yell at one another. We have all been made fun of or degraded at different times. We have lost loved ones or friends because of death or people moving.
I remember when I was young and having a particular conversation with my best friend Jon that left me devastated afterwards. He was moving because his Dad’s job relocated him. He wasn’t just moving to a different town near by or to a different state in New England. He wasn’t even staying in the country. He was moving to Scotland! I wouldn’t even be able to visit him! This was before e-mail really got big too so I barely had the ability to talk to him!
This was a big deal because Jon and I had known each other since I was one month old and he was two months old. It was at his house that I went to my first sleep over. We hung out all the time and loved video games and baseball. After my birthday, because his was just before mine, we would get dropped off and spend an entire day together at the baseball card store and spend all our birthday money. We were great friends!!
I was crushed when he moved away. I had lost the only friend that I had had consistently growing up. I was so upset! “Why do you have to go to Scotland?,” I asked him. I was mad at his Dad for taking the job. I’m sure I offered to have Jon stay with me and my family instead of moving. It was definitely a painful time in my life as I lost my best friend.
In our scripture for tonight, the disciples went through a very similar situation that I went through with my best friend Jon. Please open your Bibles to John 16:16-22. Please keep your Bibles open and follow along with me as I will be looking at the verse piece by piece.
In the verses that preceded what we are going to look at tonight, Jesus had been talking to the disciples and saying things to them like, “I am going away,” “I going to the Father where you can see me no longer,” and “in a little while you will see me no more.” These words left the disciples very confused!
***Read John 16:17-18***
I think there was also a hint of sadness and fear in their questioning of Jesus. “We’re not going to see you for a while?! Why?? Where are you going?! We’ll go with you.” Jesus was their best friend, their mentor. They had followed him constantly and practically didn’t leave his side the better part of three years. The disciples were sad and confused to loose their teacher.
Jesus, as he can see the sorrow and confusion on their faces, speaks to them in verse 19. ***Read John 16:19*** I think what Jesus is saying to the disciples here is, “Ask me, don’t ask each other! If you are confused, if you are hurt by the fact that I am leaving, just ask me about it!” Jesus is letting them know that it is ok to have questions and that it is ok to feel sad or upset.
I don’t understand why we do this but sometimes we can get the impression that things always have to be good. When someone asks, “How are you are doing?,” we almost always will respond, “Good!” It doesn’t matter usually what has happened during the day. You could be having an awful day where you had a fight with a friend, then got a bad grade on a paper and then you come home from school and you have to do a bunch of chores. But yet, that evening, someone asks you how you are and you smile and say, “Good!” Jesus is telling the disciples here, “It’s ok to be confused and upset. Talk to me about it!”