John: Joy

John 16:16–33

We do not know what he is talking about.

This is a statement that makes me feel better about myself. Because like the disciples, I think I’m scratching my head at this point. Remember, this scene goes all the way back to chapter 13. Passover meal. The national holiday remembering the Exodus from Egypt, way back from the time of Moses. And maybe there’s some weird irony going on celebrating this in Jerusalem, a city a under Roman occupation. Doesn’t take too much imagination to connect the dots from Pharoah to Caesar.

And here at this celebratory feast, Jesus kicks things off by standing in for the help, washing everybody’s feet, a ludicrous act of humility. Then there’s talk about the world hating him and us, and now talking about not being around for much longer.

This is John’s Word Made Flesh, and after three years together, the disciples still have that deer-in-headlights look about them when Jesus talks crazy. Man, this meal has been an emotional roller coaster. And it’s not over yet. Notice how often Jesus mentions the words “joy” and “rejoice”:

…your sorrow will turn to joy.

…your hearts will rejoice

no one will take your joy from you

Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

Maybe Jesus is trying to say something here to his followers. Maybe Jesus likes joy. That carefree, bursting grin. That bubbling, contagious laughter with a bear hug that lifts you off the ground and you don’t care who’s watching. That feeling wind in your hair, cruising with the windows down and your favorite song blasting in the stereo. That moment when you team wins the big game in the clutch.

Those moments that we catch in glimmers. We thirst for them, but we’re parched. We drink drips at a time. But we were made for more.

And Jesus has an overflowing bucket. Maybe that’s what he means by “living water.”

What about you? What do you see?


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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