John 16:16-33- Christ Overcame the World
Explanation- ‘A little while, and you will see me no longer…’ Where is it that Christ is going? His time has come to face the cross. Yet it is not just the cross that He will face; the Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of wicked men to do with Him as they please, but the final blow will not be at the hands of these men. Christ’s greatest agony and suffering will come by the hand of His own Father as He is crushed under the weight of our iniquities. The time is now here for Christ to face the full, undiluted cup of the Father’s wrath. It is for this reason that Christ says that the disciples will see Him no longer.
‘…again a little while, and you will see me.’ This refers to the glorious resurrection that is surely to come. Christ’s going away in death is not a permanent thing, He knows that He will rise again, and He knows that He will be glorified. Christ is looking to the joy set before Him. Certainly the darkest hour in human history is coming, but that darkness will be overcome by the magnificent light of the resurrection of the Son of God.
At this point, the disciples are still without understanding of what must happen to fulfill Scripture. They question what these things mean. Christ tells them that the time has come where they will mourn and lament. They will certainly grieve over the death of their beloved Teacher, but as a woman who travails in labor finds joy at the coming of her child, so will the disciples joy be full when Christ returns victoriously from the grave. They will no longer remember the agony of those three days of Christ’s absence, but will be overcome with the reality of all that Christ revealed during their time of misunderstanding. This is contrary to the reaction of the world. Rather than mourning, the world will rejoice at Christ’s death. The religious leaders, as well as many of those who forsook Christ along the way, will be glad to rid the world of Christ’s convicting teachings which reveal their hypocrisy. They did not know who it was that they were crucifying and therefore they murdered the Lord of Glory.
The time also comes where Christ will not speak in parables or figures of speech, but He will speak plainly. He will reveal all truth and the mysteries of the ages to them. They will no longer be without understanding but will take the truth of the Gospel to the ends of the world! They will have direct access to the Father and the ability to approach Him because of the finished work of Christ. As Christ returns to the Father He will also leave His own credibility with the Father with the disciples. They have loved Christ and the Father loves them. For this reason they will ask of the Father and He will provide so that the Son may be glorified continually. As Christ explains this, it is interesting to note the disciple’s response. For whatever reason they now believe themselves to have full understanding of the Lord’s words. They ignorantly proclaim this understanding although each of them will soon scatter, and for a time, the words of Christ will become almost obsolete as they fear for their own lives and abandon the Savior.
Application- It is a beautiful reality that in the darkest time of human history, there was hope. Hope that saw beyond the abandonment, hope that saw beyond the denial, hope that saw beyond, the cross and the fierceness of God’s wrath. This hope was one that could not be shaken nor taken away. In similar fashion, Christ told us that there will be tribulation in the world. There will be times of suffering, times of loss, and times of mourning. There will be times when it will seem there is no hope to be found; but in the midst of those darkened hours Christ provides hope. He tells us to take heart. This literally means to have courage and it carries with it the idea that in the midst of life’s greatest tribulations we are able to be encouraged as we look to the finished work of Christ. Our Lord overcame the world. He experienced the absolute worst of it with all of its hate, persecution, and trouble. As such, He is able to comfort us and give us courage as we face our own ‘crosses’. He has told us beforehand that these things would come, so we are not left in the dark. Although the timing of certain trials may take us by surprise, their happening should not. Christ offers His peace to the suffering saint and gives hope and encouragement in the midst of all storms. He is our great High Priest who is able to resonate with us in our times of weakness and distress.