“A little while and then you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.” These words were confusing to the already grieving disciples. So as they were prone to do, they began to try to figure it out among themselves. They could not. Jesus, however, knew these men and so He acknowledged their question, gave an illustration, and predicted joy.
Is this what you are asking? This statement I made “a little while and you will not see Me and then again a little while and you will see Me?” Let Me tell you. While the world will rejoice at My going away, you will be sorrowful. You will weep and lament but that will not be your end. You will not be left in your sorrow. Then to help explain, He used a picture Isaiah the prophet also liked to use, a well understood example.
“Picture a woman in childbirth,” He tells them. Some of these men were fathers. They knew the cries, the pain, the panic and as Jesus spoke, they experienced it afresh. “Then with the arrival of the child, the pain is forgotten,” Jesus continued. They knew this part too for they had felt the joy of new birth in their own communities. “The sorrow is replaced with joy.” The illustration caused them to feel something.
Then He brings it back to their situation. “Yes, you will know sorrow, but I will see you again! You will rejoice with a joy no one can ever take away from you. When that happens, you won’t be asking Me anything. You will go right to the Father. Whatever you ask Him in My name He will give it to you. So, ask, receive and be full of joy! “
These were the words of He whom the scripture described as being anointed with joy above any of His companions. This is the joy Paul writes about as being our strength. It is also the joy Peter speaks of when he wrote, “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”
Jesus, having known these men, acknowledged their question, gave them an illustration, and predicted joy.