Confusion to Confidence


The pace and intensity of life with Jesus was growing. The disciples were hearing things that were causing their minds and emotions to swirl. They could tell something was up, but they were confused by much of what they heard and felt. Confusion can sometimes make us feel lost. But it can also cause us to stop and give careful consideration to our condition and state of mind. Confusion has a way of alerting our minds and waking us up to things we otherwise would not have thought about. In this passage, we see confusion mounting. But—as always—the passage ends with Jesus giving hope and confidence for the disciples’ journey.

  • What are some things in your life about which you wish the Lord would grant you clarity today?


16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20 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. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. 23 In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What were the disciples confused about (vss. 16-19)? What do you suppose was causing that confusion?
  2. Note some of the contrasts listed in verse 20. How can these contrasts bring you encouragement in your life? Why is the analogy of childbirth so effective?
  3. What instructions did Jesus give his disciples in verses 23-24? How did this bring confidence to them? How can this bring confidence to us?


Confidence in an ever-changing world and culture is an elusive thing; the world tells us to be confident in one thing, our hearts tell us another, and our Bible tells us still another. Jesus gave the disciples a valuable piece of information and a tool that allowed them to function in their ever-changing world with boldness—you can directly ask the Father anything in my name and he will give it to you! Jesus extends this same invitation to each of us. In the midst of a lot of lingering questions comes hope, an ounce of clarity, and confidence.

  • Thank God that, in our confusion, he brings us hope that leads to confidence.
  • Ponder these additional passages to better understand how sorrow leads to joy: Romans 6:9-10 and 2 Corinthians 4:17.