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?

The difficult day of your birth (Ezek 16:4-16:5)

“As for your birth,

On the day

You were born

Your navel cord

Was not cut.

You were not washed

With water

To cleanse you.

You were not rubbed

With salt.

You were not wrapped

In clothes.

No eye pitied you.

No one did

Any of these things

For you

Out of compassion

For you.

But you were

Thrown out

In the open field.

You were abhorred

On the day

You were born.”

Apparently when Jerusalem was born, she did not have the usual amenities of child birth. The following things seemed to have happened at child birth at that time. Obviously, the navel cord, which would normally have been cut, was not done so. There was no washing of the child, nor the rubbing with salt as a protective element, nor being wrapped in clothing. No one pitied Jerusalem or had compassion for this city. She was simply thrown out into the open field to fend for herself.  She was abhorred from the day of her birth. She had a difficult first day.

A New Jerusalem (Isa 65:17-65:20)

“I am about to create new heavens.

I am about to create a new earth.

The former things

Shall not be remembered.

They shall not come to mind.

But be glad!

Rejoice forever In what I am creating!

I am about to create

Jerusalem as a joy.

I am about to create

Its people as a delight.

I will rejoice in Jerusalem!

I will delight in my people!

No more shall the sound

Of weeping be heard in it.

No more shall the sound

Of the cry of distress be heard in it.

No more shall there be in it

An infant that lives but a few days.

No more shall there be in it

An old person

Who does not live out a lifetime.

One who dies at a hundred years old

Will be considered a youth.

One who falls short of a hundred years old

Will be considered accursed.”

Yahweh was going to create a new heaven and a new earth. All the past things would be forgotten. Jerusalem was going to be a joy and a delight for its people, since there would be no more weeping or crying in distress. Infants would not die at child birth. Old people would live a long life. Anyone who died before 100 years of age would be considered a cursed youth. Good times would come to this new Jerusalem.