Good-bye For Now
Read John 13:31-33 (ESV)
When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’”
What did Jesus mean when He said that the eleven remaining disciples will look for Him but they won’t be able to follow Him?
In the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He recruited the Twelve by saying “Follow me.” In Matthew 4:18, He told Simon Peter and his brother, Andrew, to leave their fishing nets behind: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” In Matthew 9:9, He told Matthew, who had been sitting in his tax collecting booth, to “Follow me.” In Matthew 16:24, Jesus told them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Follow, follow, follow. Following Jesus is what the Twelve had been doing for 3 years.
So, imagine the eleven remaining disciples’ shock when Jesus announced that He was leaving them and they wouldn't be able to follow Him. Jesus said it was time for the Son of Man to be glorified.
That language might surprise you. After all, we know what is coming up next. It was time for Jesus to be humiliated on the cross. Why did He say it was time for Him to be glorified? Hebrews 12:2 may give us a little insight: “...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” He knew the shame and pain that lay immediately before Him. But He also knew that just three days later, He would rise again and then ascend to heaven in glory. Thus, even though it was the time of His crucifixion, His glorification was also at hand.
Jesus warned His disciples that He was only going to be with them for a little longer.
He was going away and, at least at this point, they wouldn’t be able to come along. In John 12:35-36, Jesus had told the unbelieving Jews: “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” The unbelieving Jews would never be able to go where He was going unless they put their faith in Him before it was too late. His disciples did believe in Him, though. So it wasn’t good-bye forever but rather, good-bye for now.
As believers in Christ, we have the same promise. We will be reunited with Christ one day. What a blessed hope! Plus, we know that we will be reunited with our loved ones in Christ who have passed on before us. Whenever we lose a beloved saint, it is not good-bye forever. It is only good-bye for now. Praise the Lord!
Lord, thank You for the blessed promise that one day, I will be able to go where You are. Thank You for enduring the shame of cross for me so that one day, I will be able to see You in all of Your glory. Amen.
Reveal: Do you know someone who doesn’t believe in Christ? Who can you encourage to believe in Christ so that one day, they can join us in the great reunion?
~ Pastor Nat Crawford