Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The DEEP

Painjoy

The psychological roller-coaster.

John 16:16–22

“A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”

Then some of His disciples said among themselves, “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 go to the Father’?” They said therefore, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is saying.”

Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, “Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’? Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”

Jesus is using a great psychological strategy here. He doesn’t describe the sequence of the coming events—crucifixion and resurrection—literally. Instead, He describes them in terms of how they will make the disciples feel. Jesus has already mentioned His death many times, so this is the same lesson, taught from another angle.

The childbirth analogy is intentionally extreme. There is great pain and even danger (especially back then) in childbirth. It cannot be halted; it must go forward. Thank God people don’t have the option to quit the whole thing right there.

But it eventually turns to great joy. So it shall be with the disciples. “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”

The disciples are about to ride the greatest psychological roller-coaster ever. Childbirth is the best example in life that’s analogous,

So Jesus uses it.


“If you want to know what childbirth feels like, grab your lower lip and pull it over your head." — Carol Burnett

That’s comic, but it does portray the extreme nature of childbirth. In Jesus’s day, the only pain killing drug available was wine. They didn’t even have the magic Lamaze pain killing word “hout.”

That made childbirth back then a unique combination of terror, pain and joy—the most extreme pain and the most extreme joy.

That’s a pretty good example of the emotional roller-coaster the disciples are about to ride.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

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The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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