Image: CRBC Outreach at Epworth Manor Apartments, Louisa (12.19.18)
Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 16:17-28.
And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you (John 16:22).
Ponder that opening statement: “And ye now therefore have sorrow.” Sorrow in this age is part and parcel of the Christian life, and it was so from the beginning. Compare Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
Alongside this sober reality, there is also a promise: “but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh away from you.” The original disciples would indeed be filled with joy when they saw the risen Jesus, and contemporary disciples continue to experience joy (deep gladness in Christ despite whatever external circumstances) through Christ.
It has sometimes been said that no one can rob a Christian of his joy. That comes from this verse. No one robbed Paul of his joy when he was cast into prison (Phil 4:4). The joy of the believer is here deeply connected with the assurance of his salvation. Just as no man can ever pluck the believer from the Father’s hand (John 10:29) and just as nothing can separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, whether death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present or things to come (Romans 8:38-39), so no one or no thing or no circumstance can rob the believer of the joy of his salvation.
Calvin observed on v. 22:
The value of the joy is greatly enhanced by its perpetuity; for it follows that the afflictions are light, and ought to be patiently endured, because they are of short duration. By these words Christ reminds us of what is the nature of true joy.
May the Lord continue to give his saints perseverance in sorrows and enduring joy.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
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