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John 16:20

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Ye shall weep and lament - To see me crucified and laid in the grave.

But the world shall rejoice - The chief priests, scribes, Pharisees, and persecuting Jews in general, will triumph, hoping that their bad cause is crowned with success.

But your sorrow shall be turned into joy - When ye see me risen from the dead.

It is very evident that our Lord uses the word world, in several parts of this discourse of his, to signify the unbelieving and rebellious Jews.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Ye shall weep … - At my crucifixion, sufferings, and death. Compare Luke 23:27.

The world - Wicked men. The term world is frequently used in this sense. See John 16:8. It refers particularly, here, to the Jews who sought his death, and who would rejoice that their object was obtained.

Shall be turned into joy - You will not only rejoice at my resurrection, but even my death, now the object of so much grief to you, will be to you a source of unspeakable joy. It will procure for you peace and pardon in this life, and eternal joy in the world to come. Thus their greatest apparent calamity would be to them, finally, the source of their highest comfort; and though then they could not see how it could be, yet if they had known the whole case they would have seen that they might rejoice. As it was, they were to be consoled by the assurance of the Saviour that it would be for their good. And thus, in our afflictions, if we could see the whole case, we should rejoice. As it is, when they appear dark and mysterious, we may trust in the promise of God that they will be for our welfare. We may also remark here that the apparent triumphs of the wicked, though they may produce grief at present in the minds of Christians, will be yet overruled for good. Their joy shall be turned into mourning, and the mourning of Christians into joy; and wicked men may be doing the very thing - as they were in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus - that shall yet be made the means of promoting the glory of God and the good of his people, Psalm 76:10.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is good to consider how near our seasons of grace are to an end, that we may be quickened to improve them. But the sorrows of the disciples would soon be turned into joy; as those of a mother, at the sight of her infant. The Holy Spirit would be their Comforter, and neither men nor devils, neither sufferings in life nor in death, would ever deprive them of their joy. Believers have joy or sorrow, according to their sight of Christ, and the tokens of his presence. Sorrow is coming on the ungodly, which nothing can lessen; the believer is an heir to joy which no one can take away. Where now is the joy of the murderers of our Lord, and the sorrow of his friends?
Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 277

The Prince of heaven was among His people. The greatest gift of God had been given to the world. Joy to the poor; for Christ had come to make them heirs of His kingdom. Joy to the rich; for He would teach them how to secure eternal riches. Joy to the ignorant; He would make them wise unto salvation. Joy to the learned; He would open to them deeper mysteries than they had ever fathomed; truths that had been hidden from the foundation of the world would be opened to men by the Saviour's mission. DA 277.1

John the Baptist had rejoiced to behold the Saviour. What occasion for rejoicing had the disciples who were privileged to walk and talk with the Majesty of heaven! This was not a time for them to mourn and fast. They must open their hearts to receive the light of His glory, that they might shed light upon those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death. DA 277.2

It was a bright picture which the words of Christ had called up, but across it lay a heavy shadow, which His eye alone discerned. “The days will come,” He said, “when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.” When they should see their Lord betrayed and crucified, the disciples would mourn and fast. In His last words to them in the upper chamber, He said, “A little while, and ye shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see Me. Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” John 16:19, 20. DA 277.3

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Ellen G. White
The Upward Look, 357.3

The disciples were filled with great joy. Over and over again they repeated the words Christ had spoken to them in His last lessons, as recorded in the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth chapters of John; and every one had something to say about the instruction, especially with regard to the words of the fourteenth of John ... [Verses 1-3, quoted].... UL 357.3

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