The Absorbing Power of Sorrow
John 16:5, 6
But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asks me, Where go you?…

There was sympathy between our Lord and his apostles, but that sympathy was not perfect. Even in the latest of the quiet conversations between the Master and the disciples, it is evident that the perception of the learners was now and again very dull, and that their response to his communication was very inadequate. There is a tone of expostulation, almost of upbraiding, in this as in other portions of the recorded discourse.


1. Concerning himself. Jesus had uttered language which both perplexed and distressed his friends. He had spoken of his approaching departure - a prospect which could not but grieve, and which clearly did depress his hearers. Their life was bound up in his life, and separation could not be faced without sinking of heart.

2. Concerning them, the Lord had opened up a prospect which dismayed, or at least disconcerted, them. He had plainly told them that they should be both hated and persecuted. Such an outlook as this was very gloomy. They were not prepared to endure such tribulation, especially when deprived of the presence and support, visible and tangible, of their Chief.

II. THE EFFECT OF THESE REVELATIONS UPON THE MINDS OF THE APOSTLES. "Sorrow," said Jesus, "hath filled your heart." He had opened the conversation by bidding them trust in him, and dismiss fear and trouble from their mind. And he had given them reasons for confidence, grounds for hope, motives to peace. But they were conscious of their feebleness, their dependence. They had accordingly no thought but for themselves. As they looked one at another, they must have felt that there was among them no ore upon whom they could lean in the absence of their Lord. And he was going, and going soon. How were they to keep together? And if they should keep together, what was there for them to do? Had not the Master done everything? Without him, where would be the meaning of their fellowship - the purpose of their life? It is a proof of the reality of their attachment to Jesus, of the bitterness of their disappointment at his departure, that in this hour their souls should he burdened, and all but overwhelmed with grief.

III. THE EFFECT OF SORROW TO TURN AWAY THE MIND FROM INQUIRIES WHICH MAY LEAD TO CONSOLATION. The apostles were absorbed in their own grief and trouble. Hence they were prevented by their own depression from inquiring further into the Lord's departure. Not that they were altogether incurious and careless concerning this; some of them had put questions suggested by the Lord's words. But they sank back at once upon their own condition and prospects. If they had turned away from their own loss, if they had followed Christ's declarations concerning himself with interest and faith, if they had asked for further revelations, they would both have forgotten their personal distress, and they would have received inspiration and fortitude as they realized the victory which should follow the Savior's humiliation, and as they understood that in that victory they themselves should share.

IV. THE GENERAL PRINCIPLE IS THUS REACHED, THAT THE BEST AND MOST HELPFUL HABIT OF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE IS THE CONCENTRATION OF THOUGHT AND FEELING RATHER UPON OUR SAVIOR THAN UPON OURSELVES. Experience has shown that it is a most deleterious practice to direct thought too much inwardly upon our own sorrows and perplexities, or even upon our joys and comforts. Religious progress is made by fixing the gaze of the heart upon him who is infinite Excellence and infinite Faithfulness. Let our chief interest, our most earnest questioning, our most ardent affection, be directed towards him; and then sorrow will vanish and peace will reign. - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?

WEB: But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?'

Persecution Foreseen and Foretold
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