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John 16 : 16 - 33 "UNDERSTANDING THE PLACE OF SORROW IN LIFE"
Day 242 – John 16
UNDERSTANDING THE PLACE OF SORROW IN LIFE
Jesus knew how the human heart would struggle whenever it met sorrow. The usual response was to deny or reject sorrow. Man had never learned how to cope with sorrow well. Jesus sought to teach His Disciples how they could cope with the deepest pain.
“A woman, when she is in labour, has sorrow
because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth
to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish,
for joy that a human being has been born into the world.”
It was unrealistic to think that life would not include some sorrow. The three years spent with Jesus must have been the most wonderful years for the Disciples! Would that have to end so suddenly and so soon? How could they bear the pain that had already made great inroads into their hearts?
It is not without significance that Jesus used the illustration of childbirth. Let us recall what is recorded in the Book of Genesis concerning childbirth.
“To the woman He (God) said:
‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children…'”
Sorrow was to be part of woman’s lot in life. Without children the human race was doomed to extinction. To preserve and propagate the human race, children must be brought into the world. There was both pain and hope. There was sorrow and joy. They were inseparable!
The curse of pain and sorrow was of course not limited to the woman. The man had his share of sorrows.
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it, all the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground…”
Jesus had put on flesh! He had come to redeem mankind. Therefore, He too must experience death on behalf of a sinful world! The Disciples must learn to bear the pain that they would feel as they watch Jesus go to His death! That pain could be so real and deep that it may well be compared to the birth pangs a woman feels when the hour of her delivery had come!
THE MEMORY OF PAIN WOULD FADE
No matter how much pain a person may have to endure, there is one special word of consolation. No pain lasts forever. The memory of pain will fade away! Pain would give way to joy.
If there were no hope of joy why would a woman endure so much pain? The power of joy was even greater than the power of pain! The hope of bringing a child, a human being into the world would offset any amount of pain felt by a woman in labour!
PROPHECIES CONCERNING THE PAIN THAT JESUS WOULD HAVE TO ENDURE
Jesus was not underestimating the power of pain when He said what He did. He knew the prophetic Scriptures. They predicted that He would suffer terribly. Let us look at some of the prophecies that described the suffering of Jesus. The most famous one is found in the Book of Isaiah.
“He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed…”
How real and deep would be the pain that Jesus had to endure? The well-known Messianic Psalm 22 described the depth of suffering that Jesus had to endure. The pain would be so deep that it felt as if God had abandoned Him.
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me…?
For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet…”
Psalm 22:1, 16
HOW DID JESUS BRACE HIMSELF TO ENDURE THE PAIN?
Jesus loved His Father. If it were His Father’s will to endure the pain on the Cross, then He would bear all things, for the sake of His Father (John 14:31)
Jesus loved His Disciples. He loved the world. He knew that He must endure the pain in order to bring redemption for mankind. His great heart of love enabled him to bear all things, even as a mother’s heart of love for her child would enable her to bear great pain at childbirth (John 13:1; 15:9, 13).
Similarly, the Disciples must learn to endure great sorrow and pain – even if that meant they have to accept that Jesus must suffer and die!