Friday of Easter V – John 16:12-22 

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “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 am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

We have been getting what seems like an extra dose of pictures of newborn infants in our text and email in-boxes lately. We have oohed with proud new grandparents and rejoiced with nephews and nieces who welcome babies into their lives. The pictures in truth all look very similar. There is the backdrop of a hospital, one photo involves a wrapped up little person lying on a bed. There is often another with a proud father holding a sleeping little bundle and quite often a young mother, looking weary and radiant at the same time, with a little one in her arms or lying on her chest.

Jesus likens our post-resurrection life to a woman in labor and then holding that newborn infant. Labor is hard. You can see it in the weariness evident on the faces of those young women who have just given birth in those photos. Jesus is not telling us that this is easy or that we should expect it to be easy. The here and not-here nature of Christ’s resurrected presence often makes our Christian walk confusing and frustrating. We must trust Him that this is the best way. It often does not feel like it.

But Jesus also points us to another reality, the joy which the mother has as she holds that child in her arms. No one can take that away from her. The disciples grieved for those three bitter days of Jesus’ death and burial. But their grief was turned to joy. We grieve now while Jesus collects people and enlarges his church, because we must forego his presence among us as we would like. But our hearts will rejoice, we will have a joy which no one can take away. We will see Him again.

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