“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 16:20 ESV)
Unbeknownst to Jesus’ disciples the course of Jesus life and purpose is steaming to a very rapid conclusion. In the space of just a few hours from when Jesus makes this pronouncement, he will be arrested, all of his disciples will desert him, Peter will deny that he knows Jesus, and Jesus himself will be tried, convicted, crucified, die and be buried. Could his disciples have a greater shock than this set of events? Is there any way for them to have greater sorrow, to lament more than what would transpire before the end of the next day?
So prophesied. So done. The disciples were weeping and lamenting. The world—those who opposed Jesus and all that he taught and stood for—would rejoice when he was crucified because they hated him. There is, of course, much irony here because in the space of a short weekend, the rejoicing of Jesus’ opponents would turn into accusations of a stolen body, and the disciples would be reunited with their now risen Lord and Savior.
Indeed, we get to see even before the end of John how Jesus’ prophesy here was literally fulfilled:
“Having said this, He showed them His hands and His side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” (John 20:20 HCSB)
Their sorrow had turned into rejoicing, just as Jesus had said.