16:6 Instead your hearts are filled with sadness 1 because I have said these things to you.
16:20 I tell you the solemn truth, 2 you will weep 3 and wail, 4 but the world will rejoice; you will be sad, 5 but your sadness will turn into 6 joy.
16:21 When a woman gives birth, she has distress 7 because her time 8 has come, but when her child is born, she no longer remembers the suffering because of her joy that a human being 9 has been born into the world. 10
16:22 So also you have sorrow 11 now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. 12
1 tn Or “distress” or “grief.”
2 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”
3 tn Or “wail,” “cry.”
4 tn Or “lament.”
5 tn Or “sorrowful.”
6 tn Grk “will become.”
7 sn The same word translated distress here has been translated sadness in the previous verse (a wordplay that is not exactly reproducible in English).
8 tn Grk “her hour.”
9 tn Grk “that a man” (but in a generic sense, referring to a human being).
10 sn Jesus now compares the situation of the disciples to a woman in childbirth. Just as the woman in the delivery of her child experiences real pain and anguish (has distress), so the disciples will also undergo real anguish at the crucifixion of Jesus. But once the child has been born, the mother’s anguish is turned into joy, and she forgets the past suffering. The same will be true of the disciples, who after Jesus’ resurrection and reappearance to them will forget the anguish they suffered at his death on account of their joy.
11 tn Or “distress.”
12 sn An allusion to Isa 66:14 LXX, which reads: “Then you will see, and your heart will be glad, and your bones will flourish like the new grass; and the hand of the Lord will be made known to his servants, but he will be indignant toward his enemies.” The change from “you will see [me]” to I will see you places more emphasis on Jesus as the one who reinitiates the relationship with the disciples after his resurrection, but v. 16 (you will see me) is more like Isa 66:14. Further support for seeing this allusion as intentional is found in Isa 66:7, which uses the same imagery of the woman giving birth found in John 16:21. In the context of Isa 66 the passages refer to the institution of the messianic kingdom, and in fact the last clause of 66:14 along with the following verses (15-17) have yet to be fulfilled. This is part of the tension of present and future eschatological fulfillment that runs throughout the NT, by virtue of the fact that there are two advents. Some prophecies are fulfilled or partially fulfilled at the first advent, while other prophecies or parts of prophecies await fulfillment at the second.