"Are you asking one another what I meant when I said ..." (John 16:19-23)

"Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me'? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything." (John 16:19-23)

Is this about a "second coming"?

Jesus' statement* comes after he understood his disciples were confused by the meaning of his previous statements.

Some of this confusion revolves around Jesus' statement, "I will see you again..." Is Jesus talking about the so-called "second coming"?

This interpretation involves out-of-context statements that Jesus was predicting a time thousands of years later - yet always soon - when the world would end and Jesus would come back and round up all of those who are members of particular sectarian institutions while slaughtering those who are not.

A number of sectarian institutions and their teachers have been preaching predicted dates of the second coming and the end of the world for centuries. Why hasn't it happened yet? Will it ever happen? And why do they keep predicting a date in the near future?

Because they want to attract followers. They want to scare people into becoming their followers.

If they scare people that the world is coming to an end, people will join their institution so they will be spared. This is commonly called a scare tactic.

In addition, Jesus never once stated this.

In these verses, Jesus is speaking to his closest disciples first about their coming grief when their beloved Teacher will be persecuted by the institutional temple high priest and Romans: "you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices."

Jesus isn't simply saying that they will grieve and then they will have joy later on. He is specifically saying that their grief will turn into joy.

What turns grief into joy?

What situation could exist where grief actually turns into joy - especially that situation where the grief is regarding someone passing away and leaving them?

If we had a beloved grandmother, and the grandmother died and left us, we might grieve. But that type of grief will remain with us throughout our physical lifetime. Whenever we might think about the beloved grandmother, the grief would remain because we would continue to miss her.

And if we are interpreting Jesus to be speaking of a so-called second coming, some thousands of years later - how could that relieve the grieving of his students, who would pass away during the fist century B.C.?

Jesus then utilizes a parable - an analogy - describing how grief can turn into joy. He says:
"A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world."
Jesus confirms this is comparable to the type of grief of his students when he follows with "So with you."

What does Jesus' analogy about childbirth mean?

When a woman is giving birth and experiencing the pain of childbirth, how is that comparable to the coming grief Jesus' disciples will experience? And how does the actual event of childbirth - which prompts the mother to forget those pains - compare to a joy Jesus' disciples will have when they reunite with Jesus?

The only way grief can turn to joy in this context is through an emotion called love. When a person loves someone and that person leaves them, they will typically grieve. This is the pain of separation. Then when they are reunited, that same pain of separation can turn to joy. In fact, the more pain they have in separation, the more joy they will feel when they are reunited.

Jesus' disciples came to love Jesus as not only their spiritual Teacher - but as God's representative. Through Jesus they can come to know the Supreme Being.

Jesus knows his disciples have become attached to him, and that many have established or are on their way towards establishing a loving relationship with God through their relationship with Jesus.

Such a relationship of love does not exclude God's representative.

Is this about an inclusive loving relationship?

We might compare what Jesus is telling them to a relationship between a friend who introduces us to another person, who becomes our friend. The new friendship will include the friendship with that person who introduced us. We don't bypass or suddenly forget our friendship with the person who introduced us.

As far as Jesus' points, it is an issue of love. Where love is concerned there are no boundaries. When a follower comes to know and love God through God's representative, that love includes God's representative.

In the last part of this statement, Jesus clarifies that the reuniting between him and his followers will be in the spiritual realm, rather than either his so-called "second coming" or even his reappearance to his disciples a few days after his persecution.

Consider carefully his statement:
"Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything."
What "day" would it be that Jesus' disciples would no longer ask him "anything"?

The word "day" is being translated from the Greek word ἡμέρα (hēmera), which can mean a 24-hour day or a particular time in general, according to the lexicon.

As long as Jesus' disciples were his students, they would continue to ask him questions. When Jesus reappeared to them a few days after his physical body was killed, they continued to ask him questions. So we know that Jesus is not talking about this reappearance.

So in what circumstance would they no longer have any questions?

Only when they had become fully aware - fully knowledgeable. This situation occurs only for those who return to the spiritual realm. Those who return to the spiritual realm no longer need to ask questions because they know the Truth. They have returned to their eternal loving relationship with God.

This is the meaning of "you will rejoice." The word "rejoice" has been translated from the Greek word χαίρω (chairō), which means to "be glad," "to be well" and "to thrive" according to the lexicon.

This means that when they return to the spiritual realm they will become happy. Why?

Is real happiness related to love?

Just consider the temporary feeling of happiness that comes upon a person who feels they have "fallen in love." That feeling is described by most as the sweetest happiness. Sweeter even than becoming popular or wealthy.

Yet as most of us know from experience, that happiness fades with time as we get to know the other person more and spend time with them. The happiness of "falling in love" may fade to friendship or even sometimes into a breakup and divorce in some relationships.

This is because while the feeling of falling in love is real - and it does bring some happiness in itself - here we typically fall in love with someone who will ultimately disappoint our expectation of a loving relationship.

This is because we are actually seeking a loving relationship with the Perfect Person. This is God - the Supreme Being. He is that soulmate each of us perpetually looks for but can never really find in the physical world.

And when a person falls in love with the Supreme Being, the happiness of that feeling overwhelms any sort of temporary pleasure of the physical world. Falling in love with God is the ultimate pleasure. It brings the ultimate happiness.

And Jesus could say that "no one will take away your joy" because love for God is transcendental to the physical world. No one can take away a person's love for God because it is not physical.

And the happiness brought upon by love for God does not fade. While falling in love with another human might fade as we come to see and deal with all their faults, this does not take place with God. The Supreme Person is ever-fresh. He is ever-lovable, and a person who loves God can never get enough of Him.

This was Jesus' primary teaching. He wanted his disciples to fall in love with God. And the love that he could see was developing within them would begin to blossom as their grief of Jesus' departure from the physical world expanded.

And love for God was the sum and substance of Jesus' teachings:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)

*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement from the Lost Gospels of Jesus:
Jesus understood they wanted to question him, and he said to them, “Are you seeking amongst each other to understand why I said ‘soon you will not see me and soon after that you will see me?’ Very truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice while you grieve – but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor she is in pain because her time has come. But when she delivers the child, she no longer recalls the anguish because the child is born into the world. And you now will have grief, but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice and no one can take your joy from you. And on that day you will ask me nothing. Very truly, I say to you, whatever you shall ask the Creator in my name, He will give it to you." (John 16:19-23)