John 16:16-24 “From Sorrow to Joy”

My sermon notes for Sunday, June 17th as we continue our study through The Gospel of John. Remember, these are my personal study notes and not a manuscript of the sermon.

John 16:16-24 – [16] “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” [17] So some of his disciples said to one another, “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 am going to the Father’?” [18] So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” [19] Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? [20] Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. [21] When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. [22] So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. [23] In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. [24] Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (ESV)

A quick review:  Christ’s words to the disciples

  • The world will hate you – 15:18
  • I say these things, so you will not fall away – 16:1
  • I am going away, and sorrow has filled your heart… it is for your advantage…I will send the helper. – 16:4-7

John 16:16-24 – From Sorrow to Joy

Here in verses 16-20 as the cross is just a few hours away…

  • He becomes more personal with them.
  • There will be tough days ahead.
  • I must do it.
  • But great news will follow.

I must leave – vv. 16-19

This is not the first time He has shared that He was leaving.  Leaving and going to a specific destination.  They would not TRULY (KEY WORD) understand, but neither did everyone else.

The struggle was over:

  • Who Jesus truly was.
  • Who sent Him.
  • Why He came
  • What that meant to them.

If they knew who He truly was, then they would have known He had to leave.

He has referenced His leaving several times:

Publicly – 7:33-34 – (feasts of booths) [33] Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. [34] You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” [35] The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? [36] What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?” (ESV)

Publicly – 12:32–36 – [32] And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” [33] He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. [34] So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” [35] So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. [36] While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

To the disciples after Judas left – John 13:31–33 – [31] When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. [32] If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. [33] Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ (

To the disciples – John 14:18–19 – [18] “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. [19] Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.


Your sorrow will turn to joy – vv. 20-24


Here their sorrow comes into play.

  • Weep, Lament, Sorrow, Anguish – vv. 20-21
  • His arrest and crucifixion will bring great emotion over the next few days.


Joy (keys to understanding our JOY IN CHRIST)

  1. Pain – v. 21
  • Pain before Birth
  • Crucifixion before Resurrection
  • Difficulty before Joy
  • Our DEATH before NEW LIFE
  1. Presence – vv. 22-23a
  • See me again (resurrection)
  • Will not have to ask. You will know
    • See Jesus, when the Spirit comes (v. 13 – reveal truth)
  1. Provision – 23b-24a
  • What ever you ask in JESUS name, the FATHER will provide.
  • Father is all about glorifying the Son.
  1. Pleasure – 24b
  • When we have the PRESENCE and the PROVISION, then our JOY IS FULL


These verses laid a great foundation for the way the disciples would eventually live their lives.  AS CHRIST FOLLOWING, DISCIPLE MAKERS. Yes, they went through the sorrows of the Passion of Jesus, but when the Spirit came they turned the world upside down for Jesus.

Because they understood THE WHY OF THE SEPARATION.  They finally (because of the Spirit) saw JESUS TRULY WAS.  They truly embraced who He was and what He sent them to do.


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