Child birth (Jn 16:21-16:21)

“When a woman

Is in labor,

She has pain,

Because her hour

Has come.

But when her child

Is born,

She no longer remembers

The anguish,

Because of the joy

Of having brought

A human being

Into the world.”

ἡ γυνὴ ὅταν τίκτῃ λύπην ἔχει, ὅτι ἦλθεν ἡ ὥρα αὐτῆς· ὅταν δὲ γεννήσῃ τὸ παιδίον, οὐκέτι μνημονεύει τῆς θλίψεως διὰ τὴν χαρὰν ὅτι ἐγεννήθη ἄνθρωπος εἰς τὸν κόσμον.

John uniquely indicated that Jesus said that when a woman (ἡ γυνὴ ὅταν) is in child birth labor (τίκτῃ), she has pain (λύπην ἔχει), because her hour has come (ὅτι ἦλθεν ἡ ὥρα αὐτῆς).  But when her child (τὸ παιδίον) is born (ὅταν δὲ γεννήσῃ), she no longer remembers (οὐκέτι μνημονεύει) the anguish or distress (τῆς θλίψεως), because of the joy (διὰ τὴν χαρὰν) of having brought a man, a person, or a human being (ὅτι ἐγεννήθη ἄνθρωπος) into the world (εἰς τὸν κόσμον).  Jesus then compared child birth and labor to his death and resurrection.  The hour of childbirth had come for Jesus.  His disciples would also experience extreme distress at the death of Jesus that would turn into joy with the Easter experience of the resurrection.  The idea of God testing people being compared to child birth can also be found in the prophet Isaiah, chapter 13:6-8.  This destructive day of Yahweh, the Lord, was near.  Everyone’s hands would be weak as their hearts will melt.  They would be dismayed with pangs and agony.  They would be in anguish like a woman in labor at childbirth.  They would not get any comfort from each other.  In chapter 21:3-5, Isaiah had this stern vision from Yahweh.  Since the Israelites were in Babylon, they were afraid but hopeful, like a woman experiencing labor before the birth of a child.  In chapter 26:16-18, Isaiah, spoke directly to Yahweh, the Lord.  He sought him in his distress.  He and his friends felt like they had the pains of childbirth.  They felt like they were filled with labor pains, but there was no child to be born.  They only passed gas, not a new born child.  They had no victories on earth.  There were no new children to inhabit this earth.  In chapter 42:14-17, Yahweh had been quiet, still, and restrained.  Now, however, Yahweh was going to yell out with gasps and pants, like a woman in labor about to give birth.  These comments and the idea of birth pains were in the Old Testament prophetic tradition of the Day of Yahweh, the judgment day.  Jesus was speaking like many of the ancient Israelite prophets who warned about the coming of the divine judgment at the end of days, the end times, like childbirth.  Do you know the pain of childbirth?

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