16:22 "Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.
23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full."
Jesus had this amazing ability to use one teaching and say multiple things with it. He is about to die and be gone for a few days then return from the grave. Then He is going to leave again and not return for a long time. Since the disciples can't even wrap their minds around the first departure Jesus only subtly refers to the second. Both will cause sorrow. Both will end in joy.
Last night my son asked me why Sabbath starts in the evening. He had a point. In our culture the days switch at midnight which is not logical either. To Nathaniel the day starts when you wake up and ends at night so it should be morning that starts the new day, not evening.
His logic is annoying sometimes because I know exactly where he gets it from. It's like arguing with my childhood self. Even worse is that I still remember as a kid realizing mid argument that I was wrong but staying committed to my folly anyway. Poor kid. What an inheritance.
Here is why God didn't follow our logic when He created each day beginning with the evening and ending with the day. Each day is a metaphor for life. It begins with the splendor of the setting sun. So much beauty and promise. We enter this world much the same way. No history, a clean slate, just beauty and potential. As life progresses we seem to gather more shadows. We begin to see a world that is darker than we like. We start making our own mistakes and creating our own clouds and shadows. We start to wonder if this endless round and routine we call life is all there is. Darkness seems to be stronger than light. Now to be fair even in the night there is some light and some beauty yet it never seems to last or prevail against the surrounding darkness. I met with a bright young man who grew up here a couple of weeks ago. Only 19 and he was telling me how much darker this city has become in his few years. Night seems to intensify. The darkest hour is just before the sun begins to approach the horizon again. Dawn is much like the sunset only in reverse. It doesn't diminish with time but rather intensifies until the sun itself explodes over the land. Morning! Light! Shadows at first long get shorter and shorter until at high noon they disappear.
Each day is a tiny metaphor of our existence as individuals and more significantly the story of our world. We began brilliantly in the Garden but day quickly turned to darkness. That darkness has been intensifying for millennia but it will not prevail. Morning is coming. Our sorrow will end in joy. Light will triumph over darkness. Beauty over ashes. Love over hate. Truth over lies. We will see Him face to face and in that day we will ask nothing of Him because we will need nothing. No more prayer requests for damaged health or broken relationships. No more fear. No more shadows of any kind. Night will be ended forever just as the Revelation says: "There is no night there."
Then Jesus says something strange: "Up until now you have asked for nothing in My Name." These eleven men who have been with Him for over 3 years and done miracles have never asked anything in His name?
See you tomorrow as we find more light even in this gathering darkness.