Reflections: April 25, 2021
The Fourth Sunday of Easter
By Alfonso Espinosa
"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." (John 16:20)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. At first glance, John 16:20 can seem like a pretty challenging verse. Why would other people in the world be rejoicing, while believers (specifically the first-century disciples living when Jesus was crucified) are weeping and lamenting? Think about that: While you are super sad about something, others are super happy for the same reason you are super sad. I know, this just seems wrong. There is a reaction called schadenfreude which means "pleasure derived by someone from another's misfortune." This seems really twisted.
But think about this: if some people hate God and hate His Word, then if His Church and God's people are sinking or seemingly failing, sure enough, the world will celebrate. They will say, "Finally, this annoying Christian faith is going down the tubes!" Make no mistake about it, there are many people in the world who would just be fine if the Christian faith just disappeared and who would be glad to rejoice in your despair.
Jesus was warning the disciples that the day was coming when the disciples would weep and lament, when Jesus was crucified on the Cross and executed by the Romans as a common criminal. When this happened, those against Jesus were glad and rejoiced. But the LORD went on to fill His disciples with hope, certain and true. Yes, they would be sorrowful, but then something was going to happen: They would suddenly have their sorrow turned to joy! What would cause that? You know: It would be when on the Third Day their Savior, who bled to death on the Cross, would come forth with power from the tomb. Their great sorrow would be turned to great joy.
There is an application here for us. There are many times when it feels like Christians are in the real minority and that the ways of the world are winning out, but remember, Christian, that Jesus is coming again in glory. When that day comes our sorrow will be turned to joy. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty God, You show those in error the light of Your truth so that they may return to the way of righteousness. Grant faithfulness to all who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's Church that they may avoid whatever is contrary to their confession and follow all such things as are pleasing to You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our LORD, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter)
The Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa is the pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, CA. He is also the author of two books: Faith That Sees Through the Culture and Faith That Engages the Culture.
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