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Your Sorrow Will Turn to Joy

John 16:16-22

Rev. Kurt Hering

Jubilate: Easter 4
Trinity Lutheran Church  
Layton, Utah

Play MP3 of this sermon

Sun, Apr 29, 2012 

Preaching to the saints of the Lutheran Church at Christ-Elkhart and Faith-Hugoton in Kansas since February 8, 2015. All sermons prior to that date were preached either at Trinity Lutheran Church-Layton or First Lutheran Church-Tooele, Utah.

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!



Jubilate Sunday Lectionary Summary

Those Who Wait on the Lord Shall Rejoice

The people of God are pilgrims and sojourners in this world, looking ahead to a destination yet to come (1 Peter 2:11-20). Though we are now children of God, the fullness of what we shall be has not yet been revealed (1 John 3:1-3). We are those who wait on the Lord. "The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him" (Lam 3:25). Jesus tells us that the wait is just a little while. "A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me" (John 16:16). Though you must experience sorrow for a time, though you must live as strangers in a world that is at enmity with Christ, yet your sorrow will be turned to joy when He returns. "But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength" (Is. 40:31). The little while of weeping shall be replaced with an eternity of rejoicing in the presence of Christ the crucified and risen Savior. "And no one will take your joy from you" (John 16:22).

Cover Art: Icon of Christ Prior to the Ascension

To listen, pray and sing along with the service, click on the MP3 audio link provided above. The sermon, "Your Sorrow Will Turn to Joy", begins at 21:30.

A servant of the Word and His folk,

Pastor Hering

Here is the preaching manuscript if you prefer to read along or read instead.

He is risen! - He is risen indeed!

Alleuia! - Alleluia!

Dear people of God,

We live in a therapeutic and palliative world.

 the treatment of disease or disorders by remedial agents or methods to effect a cure

 Relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder without effecting a cure.

The truth is, it's all palliative—even the therapeutic. "For as in Adam all die, … 1 Corinthians 15:22

Sadly, so much of what happens within popular Christianity reflects and mimics the world. We will do anything to avoid suffering.

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11

 Luther writes in the preface to the first part of his German books in 1539 (St. L. XIV:434ff.): "Let me show you a right method for studying theology; the one that I have used. If you adopt it, you will become so learned that if it were necessary, you yourself would be qualified to produce books just as good as those of the Fathers and the church councils. …This method is the one which the pious king David teaches in the 119th Psalm and which, no doubt, was practiced by all the Patriarchs and Prophets. In the 119th Psalm you will find three rules, which are abundantly expounded throughout the entire Psalm. They are called: Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio."

 For Luther, theologians are made not simply by "understanding, reading or speculating" but "by living, no rather by dying and being damned" (WA 5/163:28-29) as he said in a lecture on Psalm 5:11 in 1520.

 [One theologian of the last century Rudelbach (d. 1862) had this to say in an address on Luther's instruction [that] "Oratio, meditatio, tentatio faciunt theologum." This word comprises our entire theological methodology. Here, just as is the case with every thought sealed by the Spirit of God, there is nothing to add, nothing to subtract." There can be no doubt that the distressing lack of true teachers would be quickly ended if Luther's methodology were observed everywhere. [Again, sadly, we have done much to do just the opposite.]

 Oratio is prayer. Prayer begins with the ear, with God speaking first to us. Prayer grows out of the Word of our Lord; prayer is the voice of faith. Meditatio is the continual study of God's word, of letting the Word of God dwell in you richly. Tentatio is the place of the cross: of spiritual affliction, trial, and temptation. Christ's suffering is His alone. Our place is to bear our cross in the vocation to which we are called. [CFW Prof., Rev. John Pless lecture]

 Luther's list continually leads one back to the word. Oratio, meditatio, tentatio "describe the life of faith as a cycle that begins with prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit, concentrates on the reception of the Holy Spirit through meditation on God's word, and results in spiritual attack. This in turn leads a person back to further prayer and intensified meditation" (Kleinig, 258).

And, of course, the Word is at its beginning an end the very Son of God who, according to the Holy Gospel of St. John, the evangelist and apostle of our Lord [John 1:17] "took on flesh [to dwell (tent)] among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."

What glory had John and the disciples of our Lord seen that was full of grace and truth? Answer: The suffering, death, and burial of the Son of the Living God.



"On the other hand, these are properties of the human nature: being a bodily creation or creature, flesh and blood, finite and located in one place; it suffers, dies, ascends, and descends; it moves from one place to another, suffers hunger, thirst, cold, heat, and the like."

"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Corinthians 15:22

The curse of Genesis 3 is not that you will suffer and die for your sin. That was predetermined and understood in the beginning when God did really say in Genesis 1:16, "for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

The curse of Genesis 3 [vv. 16-19] is that suffering will accompany the very blessings and commands of God as you abide in them.

 To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;

in pain you shall bring forth children.

 Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."

 And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,

This aspect of the curse is precisely what Jesus addresses in the Gospel text presented by His beloved apostle and appointed to be read in His Church on this Jubilate Sunday.

Text: 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'? 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. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you." John 10:19-22

Did you hear the Good News, the incredibly wonderful promise in our Gospel today? Jesus says, "your sorrow will turn into joy." Like very Gospel promise, it is a sure thing, a done deal, a dead solid lock. Why? Because Jesus says it.

And as the eternal Word of God, it must be so because He makes it so just as so. Let there be _______ , and there is. There is nothing left for man to do to complete other than to believe it and live in it—or not.

Neither your belief nor the life that you live makes it so. Your belief receives what has been created by His ever living and active Word [Hebrews 4:12], and lives the life made by God by the power of His Holy Spirit working in and through that Word who is Christ.

Unbelief denies the truth, and so declines and refuses to live as it has been created to live and thus lets the blessing go unused.

Peace to you, because we do not have peace. Rejoice! Because we have no joy. Live because we have not life. Salvation because we need saving—most of all from ourselves. Even, believe! Because we have not faith.

God gives us all of these by speaking them into existence among us.

So here Jesus is telling them of the joy He will speak into the disciples, into our, lives of sorrow and tribulation.

It may take the form of life threatening or chronic debilitating health problems like cancer or stroke, lupus or MS. It may be unemployment or underemployment in an unpleasant job. But these are things that come to even unbelievers, though for some not until their very last days after a lifetime of seemingly out of proportion reward and happiness.

But more than that, it will often be particularly because you are a Christian, a member of the body of Christ here on earth—suffering because you have been and are in the process of being born again. Losing a job out of faithfulness to God or family or even neighbor. Losing friends, relatives, even children or spouse to worldly cares.  Watching people leave the church or head to greener pastures.

Remember Noah and his family. We still have more than 8.

So take heart dear Christians. Jubilate! Shout for joy to God. Sing the glory of his name—the glory of suffering, death, and even burial that lead to resurrection.

Your suffering and tribulation and death is not punishment for your sin. That would have to be eternal. That is what Christ suffered and endured for you, for the joy set before Him.

Your suffering and tribulation and death are all part of the birth-pangs of being reborn into the kingdom of God. But , "your sorrow will turn into joy"—joy for you and joy for those who will be brought to faith and into the Church through your suffering, your continuing to bear the cross of Christ in the world as His body here on earth.

The Church is the Ark that saves us, you and every believer, and bears us safely through the troubled waters of tribulation into the kingdom of heaven.

Just as the cross was merely a temporary, though painful and debilitating wound, so is our tribulation. And just as our Lord endured the cross for the joy set before Him, so too is our tribulation only a wounding of our heel that we endure for the joy set before us.

[Therefore] let us, [dear brothers and sisters] hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:23-25

Just as Jesus spoke to His disciples in our Gospel lesson, He is speaking to you today in the DS and especially at His table. "Your sorrow will turn into joy." Because He is here to forgive you all your sins and give you a better, eternal life--in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Insofar as this sermon is a true proclamation of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ, it belongs to Him and His Church. Therefore its use is free to all who deem it worthy and beneficial.

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