John 16:16-22: A Living Jesus Means A Living Hope
Read: John 16:16-22
Jesus in a roundabout way predicts his death and resurrection—they will see him now, and in a little while they will not see him, and then will see him again. The disciples are confused by these remarks. Jesus had also said that he is going to be with the Father. Jesus was actually talking about the post resurrection appearances that he made to the disciples and then other witnesses (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). Jesus adds some more commentary to the mix in that they will lament and have grief, but that their grief will be turned to joy. He compares it to a mother giving birth, who is in pain at the time of birth but then forgets the pain after the baby is born. The joy of the disciples was made complete after Jesus resurrected from the dead.
The resurrection was a momentous event for certain, as it fulfills the Christian hope for eternal life. Paul calls Jesus the “first fruits” and “first born” of the resurrection that is to come (1 Corinthians 15:20, Colossians 1:18). Because Jesus has been raised from the dead, the hope of the Christian is real. Peter calls it a “living hope” and a “sure salvation” as he expounds upon the implications of the resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 1:3-12). Paul also calls it “victory” because death has been defeated and has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:50-57. The victory, assurance, and hope that come from the resurrection of Jesus most certainly should complete the joy of those who believe in the reality of Jesus’ resurrection.
Christians living today have the same hope promised to the disciples, but there are also times in the lives of believers when they too lose loved ones as the disciples were about to lost Jesus. They grieved his loss as anyone else would grieve and as Christians today grieve. These can be hard and confusing times when nothing seems to make sense and it God feels distant. But when a believer dies, other believers can celebrate because of the living hope of resurrection that Jesus offers. Nothing more could be more reassuring than that, but what else is true is that it will be the last of such partings. The perishable is traded for immortality, so death will be no more!
Lord, help me to see your hope clearly when it is hard to see anything at all!