And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man takes from you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And ye now therefore have sorrow.—The same word is used. The hour of their travail-pangs was at hand; but it would pass away, and the fulness of joy would come in the constant presence of their Lord. Their sorrow would be but temporary; their joy would be abiding. The point of comparison between their state, and the familiar illustration of a woman in travail, is the passage from extreme suffering to extreme joy. We are not justified in taking the illustration as a parable, and interpreting it of the death of Christ as the birth-pang of a perfect humanity. This is the general interpretation of the more mystical expositors, and has been unfolded with great truth and beauty; but it is not an exposition of the present text.
But I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.—In John 16:19 He had said “Ye shall see.” This is the obverse of the same truth. He will again. be with them, and see them as they will see Him. The words include too the thought of His deep sympathy with them. He sees them now in the depth of their sorrow, and feels with them in that. He will see them again in the time of their joy, and will rejoice with them in that.
And your joy no man taketh from you.—The reading is doubtful. Some of the better MSS. have the future “. . . shall take from you.” “No man” is better rendered indefinitely, no one, as, e.g., in John 10:18; John 10:29. (Comp. Matthew 28:20, and Romans 8:38-39, and Notes there.)
Your joy no man taketh from you - You shall be so firmly persuaded that I have risen and that I am the Messiah, that neither the threats nor persecutions of men shall ever be able to shake your faith and produce doubt or unbelief, and thus take away your joy. This prediction was remarkably fulfilled. It is evident that after his ascension not one of the apostles ever doubted for a moment that he had risen from the dead. No persecution or trial was able to shake their faith; and thus, amid all their afflictions, they had an unshaken source of joy.Revelation 12:1,2, is compared to a woman with child, crying, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. During this time of your travail you must have sorrow. All those
that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution, 2 Timothy 3:12. It is appointed for all men once to die, Hebrews 9:27. It is appointed for God’s people (especially under some periods of time) to be dying daily, killed all the day long, as the apostle expresses the state of Christians in his time, Romans 8:36, quoting Psalm 44:22, which showeth the state of the church in the Old Testament to have been the same. But (saith our Saviour) it is but as the hour of the woman’s travail; it will be sharp, very sharp, but it shall be short; for I will see you again, and then your heart shall rejoice; which cannot be understood of Christ’s seeing them again after his resurrection; for before that time we read of few or no sufferings of the apostles or other disciples. It must therefore be understood, either of the visitation of his Spirit, filling their hearts with joy and peace, or the visitation of his providence: or rather, of Christ’s coming to the last judgment, when all that have believed in Christ shall see him with joy unspeakable; and then all tears shall be wiped away from their eyes, and they shall enter into the joy of their Lord, and sigh and sorrow no more, nor shall it be in the power of all their enemies to deprive them of their joy.
But I will see you again; as he did see his disciples upon his resurrection once and again, for the space of forty days, at certain times, by intervals: and so, in a spiritual sense, he comes and sees his people, makes them a visit, manifests himself unto them, and abides with them: they are always under his omniscient eye; he always sees them as God; and they are always under his eye of love, grace, and mercy, as Mediator: but this means such a seeing of them, as that they see him as well as he sees them; and is expressive of a delightful intercourse between Christ and them, than which nothing is more desirable:
and your heart shall rejoice: as did the hearts of the disciples, when they saw Christ risen from the dead; and as the hearts of believers do, when Christ so looks upon them that they can view him with an eye of faith; such a sight is a heart rejoicing one. To see the glory and beauty of Christ's person, the fulness and suitableness of him as a Saviour; to have an appropriating view of him as such; or to see him so as to have sensible communion with him, must needs fill the heart of a believer with joy unspeakable, and full of glory: such a sight of Christ will rejoice the heart under a sense of sin, the pollution and guilt of it, when tempted by Satan, or under God's afflicting hand, and even in the view of death and eternity.
And your joy no man taketh from you. The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment, and the joy of the chief priests, Scribes, and Pharisees, was a short lived one, on account of Christ's death; for Jesus was soon raised from the dead, and the apostles were filled with the Spirit, and went forth boldly preaching in the name of Christ, to the great grief of these men. But the joy of the disciples was durable; their risen Lord would never die more; the blessings of grace, such as redemption, pardon, righteousness, and atonement, would, and do ever remain as the foundation of solid joy: nor could a stranger intermeddle with it; "not one", either man or devil could take it away, not by all the reproaches they could cast upon them, or persecutions they could follow them with: and so, though a believer's joy may be damped by sin, and Satan, and the world, it may not be always in lively exercise; yet the matter of it always remains in Christ, and the principle of it in themselves can never be destroyed, but will issue in everlasting joy in another world.And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 16:22. καὶ ὑμεῖς … ὑμῶν, “and you accordingly,” in keeping with this natural arrangement conspicuous in the woman’s case, “have at present sorrow”. This is the time when the results are hidden and only the pain felt: “but I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice and your joy no one takes from you”. This joy was felt in the renewed vision of their Lord at the Resurrection. “All turns on the Resurrection; and without the experiences of that time there would have been no beholding Christ in the Spirit.” Bernard.22. And ye now therefore] Or, Ye also therefore now. As in the case of childbirth, the suffering of the disciples was the necessary condition of the joy. This suffering was to repeat itself in a new form in the work of converting souls (Galatians 4:19).
I will see you] In John 16:16-17; John 16:19 we had ‘ye shall see Me:’ here we have the other side of the same truth; and the same verb for ‘see’ is used in all four cases. In Galatians 4:9 we have both sides of the truth stated (see on 1 Corinthians 8:3).
no man taketh] Or, according to some good authorities, no one shall take. Their sorrow shall depart, their joy shall remain.John 16:22. Ὄψομαι, I will see) John 16:16, ye shall see Me. The two are correlative.—χαρήσεται ὑμῶν ἡ καρδιά) Isaiah 66:14, καὶ ὄψεσθε καὶ χαρήσεται ἡ καρδιά ὑμῶν.—οὐδεὶς αἴρει, no man taketh away) The Present, by which it is signified that the joy is sure, a joy which can be thwarted by no enemy, whatever may be now for the present impending: John 16:32.Verse 22. - And, so he continues, ye therefore indeed now have sorrow - your hearts are troubled, you weep and lament to-night, your desolation for "a little while" will be utter collapse and dismay - but I shall see you again. He does not repeat, "Ye shall behold me" (θεωρεῖτέ με, cf. John 14:19), but "I shall see you (ὔψομαι ὑμᾶς)." The same word, however, is used repeatedly in the record of the resurrection, and in Ver. 19 he had said ὄψεσθέ με. The point of the vision is his own consciousness of their human need filling all the forty days with its glory. The occasional manifestations of his Person during that interval helped them in a wonderful way to recognize the fact that he was ever watching them, and was at their side under all the circumstances of human life. And your heart shall rejoice, and this joy of yours no one taketh (present in the full sense of a realized future) from you. The ὄψομαι ὑμᾶς lends itself to the larger conception which, by the gift of the Holy Ghost, they at length fully apprehended, that he was with them always, even to the end of the world. That conviction was forced upon them before Pentecost (see Matthew 28:19, 20, and the account in this Gospel of the spiration and communication of the Holy Ghost, John 20:22), before he came as the sound of a rushing mighty wind, or sat in tongues of flame on their heads. Your joy in the sense of my constant presence no one, neither man nor devil, taketh away from you. That presence will not be any further exposed to Jewish malice or treachery, nor darkened by persecution, nor destroyed by death; though with bodily eyes ye see me not, yet, fully realizing that my eye is on you, "you will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8).
This form of expression occurs frequently in the New Testament, to denote the possession or experience of virtues, sensations, desires, emotions, intellectual or spiritual faculties, faults, or defects. It is stronger than the verb which expresses any one of these. For instance, to have faith is stronger than to believe: to have life, than the act of living. It expresses a distinct, personal realization of the virtue or fault or sentiment in question. Hence, to have sorrow is more than to be sorrowful. In Matthew 17:20, Christ does not say if ye believe, but if ye have faith; if faith, in ever so small a degree, is possessed by you as a conscious, living principle and motive. Compare have love (John 13:35; 1 John 4:16); have peace (John 16:33); have trust (2 Corinthians 3:4); have boldness (Hebrews 10:19; 1 John 2:28).
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