I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
So far, we’ve looked at three reasons for studying the Passion:
- Ashes – we need to remember our own death and that of our Savior.
- The Mirror – we need to recognize what caused our Savior’s death on the cross: our sin.
- The Roadmap – we must study the path to the cross because it’s a journey we all must take.
But there’s a fourth reason: preparation for Joy. Happiness and joy at first glance appear the same, but upon inspection, they’re very different and the difference is sorrow. Happiness is where sorrow is not. The two cannot coexist. But joy comes out of sorrow, and can therefore withstand whatever griefs may come.
What gave the disciples such great joy when Jesus appeared to them? Was it because their friend was back? Was it because He had done what He said he would do? Was it because He was no longer dead?
What gave them the Joy? It wasn’t just that Jesus was dead, but that they grieved his death. For those three days their world was dark, cold and empty. Death reigned everywhere. But what seemed like the end was merely a preparation. For the disciples, they experienced the resurrection through His death. Us on the other side of history, experience His death through the resurrection. The death seems so less horrible through the lens of the resurrection and we miss the chance to prepare for the true joy that the disciples experienced.