Scripture: John 16:20-23 (alternate reading for Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth: Luke 1:39-56)
20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name.
Meditation: Why did the Lord Jesus tell his disciples that they would weep and be sorrowful? Jesus was neither a pessimist nor a masochist, and he was certainly more than a realist! The way to happiness and joy in the kingdom of God is through the cross. Sin must be brought to the cross of Jesus Christ and evil can only be completely mastered by the power of God's redeeming love. Jesus told his disciples that it was more blessed to mourn for sin because it would yield the fruit of peace, joy, and righteousness. Jesus knew that the cross would be a stumbling block for those who refused to believe in him.
We, too, have a share in the victory and joy of Christ's
The cross for Jesus was not defeat but victory - victory over sin, over the forces of evil in the world, and over the devil - the arch-enemy of God and the human race. Through his atoning sacrifice on the cross Jesus won for us new abundant life and freedom over the power of sin, despair, and death. He was raised in power from the tomb on the third day and his glorified body will never taste death again. The Easter victory of the Lord Jesus gives us courage, strength, and confident hope in the face of suffering and death. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ our fears are laid to rest. His resurrection is total and final triumph over death, and for us peace and joy in the confident hope that we, too, will be raised to everlasting life with Christ.
We will have trials in this present age - but, through the eyes of faith, we know the final outcome - complete victory over sin, suffering, and death in Jesus Christ. That is why we can pray confidently now, knowing that the Father in heaven will give us everything we need to live as his children and as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know the Easter joy of Christ's victory over sin and death?
"Lord Jesus, we are an Easter people, and alleluia is our song. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we may we radiate the joy of your Resurrection and live in the reality of your great victory over sin and death."
2 For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome,
a great king over all the earth.
3 He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet.
4 He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. [Selah]
5 God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
7 For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Alleluia will be our whole joy, by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"I trust I will not weary you if I mention what you know already: that we say ALLELUIA daily and that we take delight in it daily. For you know that ALLELUIA means "Praise God" and by this expression we, agreeing in speech and thought, exhort one another to praise God. Only the one who displeases God in no respect praises God in security. Furthermore, in this time of journeying we say ALLELUIA for solace on our way. ALLELUIA is the song of the traveler for us; but we are advancing through a laborious path to a peaceful country where all our activities will be laid aside and nothing will remain for us except the ALLELUIA. Let us sing now, not for the delights of peace, but for comfort in our labor. Sing as travelers are accustomed to sing; comfort your labor by singing; do not love inactivity; keep singing and keep progressing. ...If you are advancing; progress in well-doing, progress in good faith, progress in good deeds. Keep singing and keep advancing. While we are here let us sing ALLELUIA though we are still beset with cares, so that in the future we may sing it there (in heaven) in tranquility. After the labors of this world there will be unceasing repetition of ALLELUIA. ..There ALLELUIA will be our food; ALLELUIA will be our drink; ALLELUIA will be our peaceful action; ALLELUIA will be our whole joy." [excerpts from Sermon 255 (1); Sermon 256 (1 and 3); Sermon 252 (9)]
from Common Bible: Revised Standard Version of the Bible,
copyright 1973, and Ignatius Edition of the Revised
Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 2006, by the
Division of Christian Education of the National Council of
the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved. Citation
references for quotes from the writings of the early
church fathers can be found here.
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