Disciples’ sorrow and rejoicing

Published 2:42 pm Friday, April 2, 2010

Scripture: John 16:1-28

Aim: To remind the pupil believers face a mixture of sorrow and rejoicing in life.

Golden Text: Jesus said, “Peace be unto you” to His disciples in the upper room. “And when He had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20).

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The disciples of Jesus had a difficult time trying to understand many things Jesus said to them. Jesus was patient and took much time explaining spiritual matters to them. It seems that one of the most difficult things was Jesus’ teaching that He had to go to Jerusalem and die.

To the disciples, it was mentally confusing. They were convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, the “Anointed One” promised in the Old Testament.

The disciples knew that Jesus was to become the “Ruler in Israel.” Their expectation was that Jesus would overthrow Rome and become King. They would become “rulers” with Him. They did not understand how Jesus could die and become King of Israel. Could both things not be true?

The problem with the disciples was that they understood many things clearly, but at the same time they lacked proper information to fill in details that would clarify the teachings of Jesus. They did not understand that God was in the process of revealing great truth to and through them. This truth would become part of the “revelation of God to men,” the Bible.

Regarding the death of Christ, remember that the Old Testament had prophesied the Servant of God would die (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53). It also prophesied that the Messiah would come to deliver Israel from her enemies and become their King. In the plan of Jehovah Jesus must die for sins and at a later time return to become Israel’s King. This interval the disciples did not understand because God had not revealed that He planned for a “Church age.” This is clarified by revelation to Paul.

I. Jesus told the disciples he was going back to the Father (John 16:1-6). He had told them already that He was going to prepare a place for them and that He would come again to take them with Him (John 14:1-3). Here Jesus gives instructions regarding their future.

First, Jesus did not want them to be hurt regarding Him (vs. 1).

Second, He warned that in the future the disciples would be persecuted and killed (vs. 2).

Third, He instructed that He was returning to the Father in Heaven (vs. 5).

Finally, He noted that their hearts were filled with sorrow because of His leaving them (vs. 6).

II. Jesus told them that the Holy Spirit would come into the world when He went away (John 16:7-15). The Holy Spirit would come into the world in order that He may: (1) dwell within the disciples (John 14:17; 16:7); (2) convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (16:8-12); (3) reveal God’s truth to them and teach them (16:12-15).

III. Jesus addressed the sorrow of the disciples at His leaving (John 16:16-28). First, in a little while, they would not be able to see Jesus. Second, after a little while longer, they would be able to see Him (vs. 16). The disciples were confused (vs. 17-19).

Jesus told them that they would weep because of His death, but they would rejoice after His resurrection (vs. 19-20). Jesus used the illustration of a woman having a baby. While in labor there was great pain, but after the delivery joy replaced the pain (vs. 21-22).

IV. In the future they would pray to the Father for all their needs (John 16:23-27) because He was returning to the Father (vs. 28).

Jesus was to be crucified, raised and return to Heaven. The disciples’ sorrow would be turned to joy after the resurrection. Jesus has a way of turning sorrow into joy. Amen!