They have been with Jesus for two or three years. They have seen the miracles, heard the teaching and watched his conduct. They have followed him from the shores of Galilee to Jerusalem and they are soaking up the last teaching session. The end is close now; very soon they will cross the Kidron Valley just outside Jerusalem and enter the Garden of Gethsemane where he will be arrested. They know him so well, what he wears, the sound of his voice and how he walks. And yet they hardly know him at all. They are completely in awe of him. He has just said something that they don’t understand and yet they are afraid to ask. There are no quips, no one cracks a funny; they are in the presence of greatness and they know it. This is Jesus in his glory, King of heaven dying for me.
“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn.” The next few days were going to be extremely traumatic for the disciples. They would watch as someone they loved died in front of them. To make it even worse, most people would rejoice. It would be horrible; there was no getting away from it. Jesus was fully aware of what lay ahead but he cared enough for the disciples that he warned them in advance.
“Your grief will turn to joy.” The joy is always there; when Jesus speaks of the cross; he speaks of his resurrection as well. Right through this final evening Jesus is resolute and certain of the outcome. It should remind us once more that whatever lies ahead for us, if we are in Christ, the end is glory.
“She forgets the anguish because of her joy.” The picture of a mother and child is one that will relate to many of us. Having been present when my children were born I am certainly not going to make light of the pain of childbirth. But I have noticed that most of the new mothers I have seen have looked pale and emotionally and physically drained yet full of joy. Their eyes are locked on the child. The child makes it all worthwhile. The epistle to the Hebrews would later state that Jesus ‘for the joy set before him endured the cross.’ There was a purpose.
“The Father himself loves you.” Jesus had already said; “no one comes to the Father except through me.” He is the way to the Father and through Jesus believers enter into a relationship where we are loved by him. That is something worth thinking about for some time.
“You will be scattered.” I’m amazed by the love of Jesus in this passage. He was about to be abandoned by his closest friends and yet what did he say to them? There was no criticism or judgement, just encouragement and reassurance. He wanted them to have peace in the midst of trouble and what a statement! “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
‘Find rest my soul
In Christ alone
Know His power
In quietness and trust
When the oceans rise and thunders roar
I will soar with you above the storm
Father, you are King over the flood
I will be still and know you are God.’ (Reuben Morgan)