April 24, 2016 – John 16:12-22 – “In A Little While”


In A Little While


In the name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


Dear Friends in Christ,


A Busy Night


Today’s gospel reading takes us back to Maundy Thursday when Jesus and his disciples sat down to eat a meal together. It was an evening of unexpected events and words.


  • Jesus had insisted on washing the feet of his disciples
  • He taught them about being servants
  • He told the disciples about a betrayer
  • Jesus shared a new meal with them as he said “Take and eat this is my body, Take and drink this is my blood”
  • Jesus told Peter that he would deny knowing Jesus
  • He told the disciples about return to the Father
  • He said he would prepare a place for them,
  • Jesus said that he was “the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,”
  • He promised to send them the Holy Spirit,
  • Jesus told them that the world would hate them as it hated him.


As the evening in the upper room drew to a close, Jesus said to them, “I still have things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” Their minds were already spinning trying to understand all that had already happened and been said. So, Jesus comforted them with the assurance that the Holy Spirit would come and guide them into understanding the truth in all things.


The truth that the Holy Spirit would lead them to know was the truth about Jesus as the Christ, the one sent by the Father. That’s what the Holy Spirit does for us, the Spirit teaches us the truth about Jesus as the Christ, the one sent by the Father for us. The Holy Spirit teaches us what it means to need a savior and how Jesus is completely and fully the Savior that we need.


A Little While


As they prepared to leave the upper room, Jesus said to them, “A little while, and you will see me no longer: and again a little while, and you will see me.” The disciples wondered what Jesus meant by “A Little While”. Jesus explained that in “a little while” there would be a time of great sorrow, but that after the time of sorrow their sorrow would turn into joy.


We know now that the great sorrow came when the disciples saw Jesus betrayed, arrested, beaten, and then nailed to a cross to suffer and die. “A Little While,” that’s what people would call the time from Thursday night to Friday night when so many horrible things happened to Jesus.


In “the Little While” that Jesus spent on trial and then suffering and dying, he accomplished a miracle for us. In that “Little While” of sorrow, Jesus fulfilled God’s plan of salvation. Until later, the disciples did not see or understand the truth of what was happening.


Jesus took all your sins with him to the cross. He gave himself as the sacrifice for those sins. He suffered the punishment you deserve because you cannot obey God’s laws perfectly. With the shedding of his blood, Jesus paid the price for your disobedience. In that “Little While” Jesus suffered being forsaken by his heavenly Father.


Once and for all, Jesus Christ said through his death, that your salvation doesn’t come from what you do, it comes from what he did for you. Your salvation isn’t lost because you fail to keep the commandments perfectly, it has been won by Christ who, without any merit or worthiness in you, died for you.


For “A Little While” the disciples did not know this was truth. All they knew was that Jesus was dead. For “A Little While” they lived in sorrow. Then came Sunday morning and the resurrection. Then came the JOY of knowing that Jesus was not dead, that he had risen from the dead, and that he was alive never to die again.


From that moment on, the disciples lived with the JOY of knowing that Jesus had conquered sin and death, not only for them but for all who believe in Jesus as their Savior. From that moment on all earthly sorrow was overshadowed by the JOY of knowing that Christ had redeemed them for sin and death.


Our Sorrow


For “A Little While” we live in a time of sorrow. Life seems to be full of sorrow. We look around us and see senseless shootings, bombs exploding in city streets, parents abusing and even killing their children. People have lost their jobs, they have spent their savings, lost their homes, lost their health, lost a loved one.


We see people everywhere in the world in sorrow because others have the power to take advantage of them. It’s only by the grace of God that we have some small joys in our daily life. Without God’s mercy and grace this world and our “Little While” living here would be nothing but sorrow.


God’s mercy and grace comes to us and to the whole world because Jesus has paid for the sins of the world. God has tempered the amount of sorrow that we have in our lives for the sake of his Son. He has seen fit to limit our sorrow because of his love for the world that he created and redeemed.


God has also promised that this world of sorrow will not last forever. For all those who believe in Jesus he has promised that there will be an end to sorrow. Saint John wrote in the book of Revelation that there will be a time when God will “wipe away every tear from the eyes of the believer, a time when death shall no longer happen, a time when their will be no more mourning or crying or pain. All these things John writes will pass away.”


This time will be a time of eternal JOY, a JOY that no one will take away from believers. This will come because Jesus lived and died and rose again for you.




Many people are looking forward to this time of eternal JOY. Many people are concerned that they are not good enough to receive this time of eternal JOY. What bothers so many people is that they see their sins; big ones, little ones, and ones in-between and are afraid that they are not good enough for God to give them eternal JOY.


It is good that we know and confess that we are sinners. It is good to have sorrow over our sins. God wants our sorrow to last only “A Little While,” only as long as it takes to ask for his mercy, only as long as it takes to remember that Jesus came to free us from our sorrow and depression over our sins.


God wants us to know immediately the JOY of the salvation that he has prepared for us in Jesus Christ. As soon as we think about our sins, God wants us to remember that Jesus has dealt with our sins. Jesus has earned for us God’s forgiveness.


Jesus wants you to know that he has done what you are unable to do. He wants you to have the JOY of knowing that you do not have to earn God’s forgiveness because it comes to you as a gift from a gracious and merciful God.


Jesus has sent his Holy Spirit to us with this good news about this forgiveness that he won for us through his life and death. The Holy Spirit teaches us about God’s grace so that we no longer need to fear our sins or carry around with us the guilt and sorrow that comes from thinking about them.


When the sorrow of sin enters your thoughts the Holy Spirit calls you to remember what God has told you in his Word. Jesus has redeemed you from sin and death. The Holy Spirit calls you to remember the promise that God gave you in Holy Baptism. You were baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection.


Brothers and sisters in Christ, remember your sins only for “A Little While,” only as long as it takes to remember that By Grace You Are Saved from your sins, Through Faith in Jesus Christ your sins are forgiven..


Go with Peace and JOY in your hearts.  Amen.


Soli Deo Gloria

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