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Day 21 - The Paradox of the Cross

16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 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. (John 16:16-20 ESV)

When I think about this exchange between Jesus and his disciples, two questions rise to my mind:

  1. Why does the world rejoice when I weep and lament?

  2. How can my sorrow turn into joy?

The reason the world rejoices when I weep and lament is a simple, but a difficult to swallow truth: the world actually hates you. It never cared about you and never loved you. The world never did. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to get the world to care about you: your achievements, your power, your money, the world doesn’t care and any rouse it showed to pretend it cared for you was and is a lie. To the world, you and I are temporary burdens, completely worthless to the ongoing goals and plans it has for itself. So when you weep and lament, the world rejoices because you are no longer in its way.

Now the real question: how can my sorrow turn into joy? That’s the paradox of the cross of Jesus. In the cross of Jesus, a hideous and shameful sight for people living in the first century, we die to this world. Our cares for this world end in sorrow at the cross of Jesus.

But when we realize what we receive when trusting in the cross, we can have nothing but joy. Because in faith, the joy of God comes to us and fills us with hope that can never be taken away. Salvation can only come when we accept Jesus in the sorrow of our sinfulness and our inability to save ourselves and find meaning in the world. But once salvation comes, pure joy is experienced in every aspect of our lives.

Pray that you are reminded of the joy of your salvation in the cross of Jesus as you leave your desires, cares, and concerns for the world to die before the cross of Jesus.

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