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. 25 "These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; 27 for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. 28 I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father." 29 His disciples said to Him, "See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! 30 Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God." 31 Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? 32 Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Questions to Consider:
The phrase, "A little while," is used seven different times v.16 through v.19. Jesus gives the disciples a riddle to solve. "A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me." The disciples are confused. What does Jesus mean? Is Jesus going on a vacation? Is Jesus going to disappear until the leaders of the Jews stop trying to kill Him? The disciples simply could not make sense of what Jesus was saying to them.
The disciples were more hopeful with this news. Jesus would be gone for a short time, but He was planning to come back. Would this mean that they could continue to walk with Jesus and receive training and instruction from Him? v.19 The disciples wanted some clarification, but were afraid to ask Jesus about the specifics. The disciples did not want to contemplate the negative possibilities, or ask questions where they received unwanted answers.
v.20 Jesus foretells of the great sorrow that the disciples are going to feel. Which indeed the disciples felt at the time when Jesus was dying on the cross. Then Jesus suggests that their mourning will turn into joy. He predicts that the disciples will be so happy that they will forget the sorrow of Jesus' death. This too is exactly what happened. On the morning of the 3rd day after Jesus' crucifixion, the tomb was empty and He revealed Himself to the disciples.
v.21 Jesus compares this emotional turn around the disciples would experience at His resurrection to a woman who quickly forgets the pain of childbirth for the joy of having a baby.
v.25 Jesus tells the disciples that, up to that point in time, He had been speaking to them in figurative language as opposed to speaking plainly. Having the advantage of hind-sight, we understand Jesus prophetic words concerning His death and resurrection; however, this idea was inconceivable to the disciples. After Jesus was resurrected the disciples finally began to understand what Jesus had been communicating to them from (almost) the very beginning of His public ministry. John 2:19 (NKJV) Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
Jesus reiterated the idea concerning His close relationship with the Father. v.28 That He came into the from the Father, and that He would leave the world to be with the Father. v.30 The disciples responded to Jesus by telling Him that they believed that He came from the Father. In spite of this expression of faith in Jesus, their faith was about to be put to the test.
The case could be made that every disciple failed the test with perhaps the only exception being John. Judas betrayed Jesus. Peter denied knowing Jesus. All the rest of the disciples scattered after Jesus was arrested. This fulfilled Jesus' words (v.32).
In spite of this dire prediction of a difficult, challenging future, Jesus tells His disciples to have peace and to be of good cheer. Then He tells them why: "I have overcome the world." The proof was in evidence when they found that the tomb where the body of Jesus had been placed was empty.
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