Brothers and Sisters in Christ, So they were saying, “What does He mean by a little while?” “We do not know what He is talking about.” Jesus said to them.... “You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”


We do not know what He is talking about. Jesus' disciples don't give us much hope or confidence, after all, they had been with Him everyday for the almost three years. They have heard Him rebuke the teachers of His day, teach the crowds, perform miracles, and were witnesses to the miraculous. But when Jesus tells them; “A little while, and you will see me no longer, and again a little while, and you will see me,” they do not understand. They are confused and question what Jesus meant among themselves. Yet Jesus is right in front of them waiting to give them hope. Yet these disciples who have been with Him, who have seen and witnessed Jesus ministry, they don't get it. So how are we suppose to understand what Jesus meant? We have not walked or talked with Jesus, we have not seen the miraculous healings or heard the teachings directly from our Lord.

The Fifth Sunday of Easter

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, So they were saying, “What does He mean by a little while?” “We do not know what He is talking about.” Jesus said to them.... “You have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”


We do not know what He is talking about. Jesus' disciples don't give us much hope or confidence, after all, they had been with Him everyday for the almost three years. They have heard Him rebuke the teachers of His day, teach the crowds, perform miracles, and were witnesses to the miraculous. But when Jesus tells them; “A little while, and you will see me no longer, and again a little while, and you will see me,” they do not understand. They are confused and question what Jesus meant among themselves. Yet Jesus is right in front of them waiting to give them hope. Yet these disciples who have been with Him, who have seen and witnessed Jesus ministry, they don't get it. So how are we suppose to understand what Jesus meant? We have not walked or talked with Jesus, we have not seen the miraculous healings or heard the teachings directly from our Lord.


St John records thRead more...ese words of our Lord not long before the betrayal and arrest of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is trying to tell them that in “A little while, you will not see me as I die on the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world. A little while and you will not see me as I leave this world, and descend into hell to proclaim victory over sin, death, and Satan. A little while and you will not see me as they lay my body in the tomb.”


The death of Jesus brought great sorrow and disappointment among the disciples and His followers. They thought that all had been lost. They had hoped that Jesus had come to establish a great earthly kingdom, that He had come to come to restore the once great nation of Israel to its rightful place. Their hopes had banished into darkness just as the body of our Lord was laid in a cold, dark tomb.


But after a little while Jesus brought great joy. The disciples would have been overwhelmed with joy as Jesus rose triumphantly from the dead. He brought peace and comfort to all as the disciples finally saw Our risen Lord.


We too are in a time of the little while, not seeing Him. This “little while” has been going on almost 2000 years and it seems like a lot more than a “little while”. But our Lord works on His own time, not ours. He has everything under His control in ways that we can not see, or understand.


Jesus said; “So also you have sorrow now.” There is sorrow in this life on earth. There are in-numerable conflicts in the world that lead to wars. There is violence and deceit within our very own communities seemingly at every turn. We have seen destruction within our own nation with the unexpected bombing in Boston where more than a hundred were hurt and where three families are suffering the loss of loved ones. Even more are dealing with the loss of loved ones from the collapse of a factory in Bangladesh that killed a hundred, and there are those who mourn the loss of loved ones killed in the explosion that occurred in West Texas. There is sickness and injury among our families and friends.  More and more people are being put on medication for debilitating sadness and depression and bodies continue to decay and eventually wear out all-together leading finally to death. Jesus expressed that there would be sorrow now, while He is not seen.  All of these pains, sorrows, and trials are a result of Satan, who is the prince of this world. He is at work constantly through temptation and sin in this world, creating evil and destruction, every chance he gets. There was even sorrow over the fact that Jesus had died, but after a little while, He appeared again in victory to bring joy.  Jesus said “But I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” The time when no one can take your joy will come to you too. It will come when our “little while” ends, and the life which we hold so dear ceases to exist. It is then, that we will have true joy as we will join Christ in heaven.


The sorrow and sadness of this world of sin, compared with the true joy that we will have after this life ends does not mean that we must live our earthly days drowning in sorrow as we wait to be united with Him. We can and should take joy in this life, even in the midst of hardships, trials, and the pains of this world. You can take joy in this life because He has made you new as Revelation has said. You were made new when God claimed you as His own and declared to you Christ’s righteousness.   While God claimed you and declared to you Christ’s righteousness, He cleansed you of all your sins. Because you have been made new in the blood of the lamb, you can have joy, even joy in and amongst the sorrows of life, for you have been given a new life in Christ for you have been given a new life in Christ. So now matter what the devil, this world, and your sinful nature throws at you, your heart can rejoice at the peace that comes from your new life in Christ, knowing that all of you sin has been washed away. That those sins that continue to plague and haunt you, have been cast into the depths of the sea and are no longer seen by our Father in Heaven for you have been claimed and are declared to be God’s own child.


This “little while” of not being able to see Christ does not mean that He is absent from us. Just because Our Lord appeared for 40 days and then ascended into heaven to the right hand of the Father, does not mean that He has abandoned us, that He has left us alone for our little while, to deal with the pains and sufferings and tragedies of this life on our own. He is here, He is here not just in some book to give you words to think about, but He is here working through His own creation. He is here baptizing you with the Holy Spirit through water and the word. He has granted to you repentance that leads to eternal life just as He did to the Gentiles.    

In our first reading, Peter saw a vision of a sheet full of unclean animals let down– and he was told to rise, kill, and eat.  In our midst today the risen Christ is present to serve us not a vision or something that is unclean.  Rather He is present to serve us the actual food of his holy body and holy blood which makes us clean.  Brothers and Sisters in Christ, “What God has made clean, do not call common” – but rejoice that in the “little while” of your life God has granted you repentance that leads to life.


At the Lord's Table we are just as close to our Lord as the disciples who stood with Him, who were trying to figure out what He was talking about. We are sustained at the Lord's Table, for our little while. For our times of hurt, our times of sorrow, our time of pain, even for the trials that we face here on this earth. For in a little while, He will take us to be with Him in heaven, where we will experience true joy and perfect rest.  In the mean time, we come to His table with Him and all His saints, rejoicing in the Salvation that was won by the Lamb who was slain and now reigns in heaven.


After the Lord's Supper, we sing the Song of Simeon. We sing “Lord, now lettest Thou thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel.”


 Just as Simeon held the infant Jesus in his arms, we too have come into the presence of the same Christ. And it is His presence which gives us joy, true joy even in the midst of our little while. Joy amongst sickness, Joy amongst heartache, Joy amongst distress, and even Joy amongst the greatest enemy of all…… death.


After our little while ends, we will be joined together with Our Lord in the heavenly Jerusalem. Their will be no more mourning, or crying, or pain. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and death will be no more. From there He will take us to be with Him in the new heavens and earth and there we will live together with Him forever.  Then we and all the saints will no longer wait for a little while, but we will see the Victor saying: “Behold, I am making all things new, It is done, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.  The one who conquers will have this heritage and I will be His God and He will be my son.” Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a