John taught his disciples to pray and fast, yearning for a deliverance which had been hiding for centuries just beyond the horizon. This is why Jesus contrasts John’s fasting disciples with his own: “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?” Israel had prayed for centuries: “How long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear?” Jesus, the bridegroom for which they had been waiting so long, is Himself the answer. Yet in that same contrast Jesus continues: “The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” He is clearly alluding to His impending death, but I suspect also to His ascension, hence James’ imperative that our laughter be turned to mourning, or Paul’s that deacons be grave.

Later, when the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray “as John taught his disciples,” it makes sense that He teaches them instead to pray as His own disciples—not yearning for what seems forever just beyond view, but with the knowledge that they will receive what they have asked. “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Jesus’ disciples have a reason to rejoice. So what of the severity of James’ commission to mourn, or Paul’s appreciation for gravity?

This week—the annual commemoration of Christ’s Passion—is ideal for marrying the celebratory confidence of disciples whose Promise has arrived with the lamented yearning of those awaiting His return. As long-beleaguered crowds exulted at the arrival of their Deliverer, the disciples celebrated with them. When the same crowds chose crucifixion for Him, the disciples trembled and mourned His loss. And their grief was not misplaced, even had they understood His imminent resurrection. We rejoice in the Christ event, but also mourn (and mend) the sorrows of the world until His return. Just as no one person can fully represent Christ in the world (the church is His body, after all), no one emotion can fully express the meaning of His Lordship or the anticipation of His return.

For this Passion Week, may our experience in Him include the yearning of people overlooked, the grief of the Servant Suffering, the comfort and power of His resurrection, and the hope of His final return.