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Bible digging: monthly Bible study
Monthly Bible study feature
Updated April 7, 2019
"Easter's Little While"

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Bible Digging
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"Easter's Little While" (posted April 7, 2019)
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   Jesus said to His disciples: "A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father. ... 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 into joy."
   - John 16:16, 20

In the light of the events that follow, can we not say that these words indicate that, at that moment, there were but a few short hours before the Lord would leave His disciples to pass out of the sight of man as He would go into the darnkess of the cross and the tomb? And after the second "little while" the disciples would again see the Lord; and yet not as before, in the days of His flesh, but in His resurrection.

If they would see Him no more as in the days of His humiliation, they would see Him forevermore in the new and glorieous resurrection condition beyond death and the grave. It would, however, be the same Jesus who had dwetl among them borne with their weakness, sustained their faith, and won their hearts. He would come into their midst and say, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself" (Luke 24:39).

Moreover, the Lord tells His disciples how these changing events will affect them in sorrow and joy. The "little while" during which they will not see Him will be a time of overwhelming grief for the disciples-- a time of weeping and lamenting for one dead, whose grave was the end of all their earthly hopes. The world indeed would rejoice, thinking they had triumphed over one whose presence exposed the evil of their deeds. Nevertheless, when the little while is ended their sorrow will be turned to joy!

To bring home these coming events to the hearts of the disciples, the Lord uses the illustration of the woman bringing forth her child. The sudden sorrow, the change from anguish to joy, and the birth of the child exactly set forth the sudden anguish which would overwhelm the disciples when the Lord would pass into death, illustrating also the quick change from anguish to joy when once again they see the risen Lord as the Firstborn from the dead.

Moreover, the seeing of which the Lord speaks can hardly be confined to His fleeting visits during the forty days after the resurrection. It has been well said, "The risen and living Lord showed Himself to the eye of sense, that He might remain before the eye of faith."

It is this special vision of Christ that secures the joy of the believer today. Another has said, "The living Lord is the joy of His people; and because His life is eternal, their joy is permanent and secure." Thus the Lord can say, "Your joy no one will take from you" (John 16:22).

Hamilton Smith

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