The gospel passage for today is John 16:20-23:
“Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labour, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”
The verse that has stuck with me this past week is verse 22: “So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
This concept of Jesus seeing the disciples, seeing us, again is not one that usually sits well with us in light of the second coming, I don’t think. The second coming of Christ, signaling the end of the ages, when all will be judged–the sheep being separated from the goats and all–may have us a bit worried. Are we the sheep that the good shepherd cares for tenderly, or are the the goats? But what Christ says is that our hearts will REJOICE. Not that we’ll be moderately happy, or that we will be glad, but we will rejoice. We will be full of joy, and NO ONE will take our joy from us.
This promise of joy is one that I believe all of us Christians, the followers of the risen Christ, hope to be true. In fact, it may be the single biggest hope we have as Christians: that we will again be with and know Christ, and that Christ who redeems the world, redeems EVEN US. And, in that joy-filled redemption, our very hearts will rejoice–the pain that the world, that our very lives inflict on us will be no more. We will be left only with hearts full of joy when we see Jesus.
My question to you today is where do you see Jesus? Where do you see Jesus now, today…alive and vibrant in your life?
Today let us live into that joy-filled expectation of seeing our risen Lord and Savior. Let us live in the sure and certain hope that although the world and even our very lives in moments produce pain for us to bear, that the pain we experience is fleeting when compared with the everlasting joy we experience when we see Jesus…and that joy is a joy that no one can take away from you, ever.