December 26

Today's Bible Reading
     II Chronicles 31
     Revelation 17
     Zechariah 13:2-9
     John 16
            ''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 in to joy. " (John 16:20)
            The message of our text is a message of joy. When we are in Jesus, we have great joy; in fact, the church is a fellowshipofjoy. She was born through the shed blood of Jesus,bathed in the sacrifices of the martyrs, and has been persecuted by every land, but across the pages of the New Testament is the triumphal march of the fellowship of joy.
We hear Paul shouting from prison, ''Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice." In this passage, Jesus is letting His Disciples know that there is a time coming when they will have great sorrow, but their sorrow will turn into joy. Before them lay the cross, but also the Resurrection.
            The customary greeting of our Lord was one of joy. He said, ''Be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven." On the stormy sea, He said, ''Be of good cheer. It is I." At the end of John 16, He says, ''Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world." Indeed, the characteristic of the Christian is to be one of joy. 
In this chapter, it is the last night that Jesus came to His Disciples before His arrest the next day that leads to His crucifixion. This is why He says to them, ''In a little while,you will not see Me." How is it Jesus could promise them joy at such a time as this? How can we know joy in the midst of unemployment , marital difficulty, severe illness, grief, imminent death, and whatever else may come into our lives? Our Lord, indeed, offers joy even in times like these.
            There will be joy in rejection. Jesus wanted them to know that the deeper the valley,the higher the mountain. The more we suffer, the sweeter the victory.  In an athletic event, the tougher the game, the better the victory.  So it would be with these disciples. Following the tragedy of the crucifixion would come the resurrection, the Pentecostal experience, and a period of time when the Gospel of Jesus Christ would sweep throughout the earth.  Joy in the morning was the promise of Jesus.
            There was joy inresurrection. If you look carefully at what Jesus told them in verse 16 and following, you will discover, in the original language, that Jesus said, ''You will see Me again, not as you see me now, but you will perceive Me in a new kind of way."
            There will be joy in His representation. It is important to understand why these Disciples could have joy after His resurrection. Physically, He was gone from them. He had already taught them however, another Comforter would come. He has shown them that it is best for them that He leave so the Holy Spirit could come, live within them, and minister through them.  He is still represented today, in us, in the person of the Holy Spirit.
            There will be joy in the return. He tells us in verse 33 that He has overcome the world. What does He mean? Consider the price the church has paid through the years in persecution, in death, and suffering. He is telling them now that He is,indeed, coming again. We are to look to the Eastern Sky. It will split someday with the sound of the trumpet, the voice of the Archangel, and Jesus will come. He says then, ''He has overcome the world." As He looks forward to His coming again - what a day, what a glorious day that will be!
            If you have not yet given your life completely to this wonderful Lord, do so today! Your life He will make it over, anew! Lift up your heads,you sad of heart Calvary's day and Easter's day, Are but one day apart. Hang on, weary Christian, a little while longer. Be of cheer. Jesus has overcome the world!
            In Zimbabwe, the AIDS epidemic has become the worst in the world. Over 25% of all adults carried the virus at the turn of the century. The number of orphans represents 10% of the population. Pray for those who minister to AIDS victims throughout Africa and especially in Zimbabwe. 
''Character is what you are in the dark."
D. L. Moody