“A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the 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” (Jn. 16:21-22).
Jesus says here that His death and resurrection is like a woman in labor and giving birth. In the labor there is great sorrow, but when she gives birth, she doesn’t remember the anguish anymore. Joy floods her as she holds her newborn in her arms and that joy overwhelms all the previous sorrow. Jesus says that His disciples will be in great sorrow and anguish at His crucifixion, but that at His resurrection, their hearts will rejoice, and they will be given a joy that no one can take away from them.
This is what it means to know the resurrected Jesus. Christian joy does not mean that there is no sorrow, no anguish. But Christian joy is the sort of thing that throbs beneath the greatest pain. Christians feel the ache of sin, the sharpness of death, the shocks of hard news and terrible tragedy and hardship, but to know Jesus is to know the One who has gone down into it all. He went down into betrayal. He went down into intense suffering and pain. He went down into mockery and rejection. He went down into public ridicule and shame. He went down into death itself. And He went down there for us. Not only that, He went down there to get us.
If you look closely with the eyes of faith, when you see the Lord risen in victory over sin and death and the devil, You see that He’s carrying spoils with Him. His arms are full of people He’s brought back with Him. And if you look with the eyes of faith, you can see that you’re among them. He’s carrying you. He’s holding you. And therefore, because He is holding you, your heart rejoices and you have a joy that can never be taken away from you.