This is Jesus speaking to His disciples telling them that He will leave them soon but their sorrow will turn to joy when He returns for them.
The Prediction of Christ’s Death and Resurrection
16 “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”
17 Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “What is this that He says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” 18 They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.”
19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? 20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, 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. 22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
Commentary: 16:16. The words in a little while were bewildering to the disciples (and also possibly to the initial readers of John’s Gospel). Also the prediction, you will see Me, was not immediately understood. Did Jesus refer (a) to the coming of the Holy Spirit or (b) to His Second Advent or (c) to His brief, 40-day ministry between His resurrection and His Ascension? The last interpretation fits this passage best.
16:17-18. The disciples were confused about the time interval. The words they kept asking indicate that considerable dialogue took place among the disciples without their arriving at an answer. They could not reconcile Jesus’ statements because He said: (a) In a short time they would not see Him, (b) they would see Him, and (c) He was going to the Father. Only His death, resurrection, post-resurrection ministry, and Ascension would make it all clear.
16:19-20. As a Master Teacher, Jesus understood the confusion among His students. He did not clarify His teaching; He knew it would all come into focus with the passage of time and with the aid of the Spirit’s teaching ministry. I tell you the truth introduces a solemn prediction that their coming grief would be followed by joy. His death would be bitter agony for them but the world would be happy over it. However, the very event, the death of the Messiah, which would cause them to weep and mourn would bring them gladness: your grief will turn to joy. His resurrection and the Spirit’s work of interpretation would enable them to know that He had to die so that they could have forgiveness of sins. Later the church would rejoice in His death.
16:21-22. Jesus illustrated the truth of pain replaced by joy by the pain of childbirth followed by the joy of new life when a child is born. The disciples were entering the process of pain (your time of grief), but the light of joy was just ahead. When they saw Him after His resurrection, their joy erupted—joy that will never end since He died to sin once but now lives forever.
16:23-24. The forthcoming events brought about changed relations. Since Jesus would not be with them physically (in that day means after His Ascension), they would not be able to ask Him questions. But the Holy Spirit would help them.
I tell you the truth again introduced an important statement. They would be His ambassadors and therefore had the right to ask the Father for whatever they needed to accomplish His will. The words in My name are not a magical formula which enable the user to get his will done; instead those words tied the requests to the work of the Son in doing the Father’s will (cf. “in My name” in 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:24, 26). Up to this point the disciples had not prayed in the name of Jesus. Now they are to do this since Jesus’ death and the Spirit’s coming would enable them to enter into God’s new program of the Church Age. Answered prayer brings complete joy because God is at work in them.
Romans 6:4 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
God is testing us every day and has given us the right to make our own choices. Do you know which ones are the right choices in Gods mind?
Fear God, love God, honor God, and trust God with all your heart, mind and soul and you will receive and experience the joy of the promises of God’s blessings in His time.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I praise You for Your Son and the Holy Spirit. I praise Your for Your grace in sending us Your wisdom about “Sorrow will turn to Joy.” I will be so joyous when Jesus returns for His church. Please bless all who have read this article for they too are seeking Your righteous truth, love, wisdom and understanding. May they also be joyous.
May God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit and Christianity be our guiding lights, our safety nets and our inspiration for loving happiness in all of Your kingdom. Father into your hands I commend my spirit. Not my will, but Yours be done. Please come Lord Jesus.
I pray in Jesus sweet name and to his glory through the power of the Holy Spirit,