Title and Text: “The Pain and the Joy” – John 16:16-33
Discussion / Reflection Questions:
- What do you think the disciples thought and felt when Jesus kept saying things like: “A little while, and you will see me no longer” (v 16)? While Jesus hinted at his death and resurrection many times, why do you think he never came out and said it plainly to his disciples?
- How does the analogy to childbirth in v 21 relate to Jesus’ death and resurrection?
- In vv 32 Jesus tells how, at the time of his death, his disciples “will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” Even as it seemed Jesus was alone, he wasn’t. How does the Father’s presence with Jesus relate to Jesus’ presence with us in the midst of tribulation?
- Where do you commonly look for peace and security? Where do your peers look for peace? Where does Jesus say peace is really to be found?
- Jesus never promises the absence of adversity in our lives. But he does promise his presence to be with us and encourage us with his ultimate victory (v 33). How is this promise even greater than a promise of a trouble-free life?
- Memorize John 16:33 and meditate on the resurrection promise of Christ that gives peace and hope. Discuss whether this promise and the hopeful message in the rest of the passage is a anticipated future reality or a received present reality or some combination of the two.
- Read the following poem by Annie Johnson Flint, who was crippled from arthritis most of her life. Contemplate the relationship between pain and joy. Follow Jesus’ invitation to “Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (v 24).
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.