The Assurance Of Christ’s Permanent Presence
Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Friday, 31 March 2017
16 A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. 17 Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. 19 Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
esus assured the disciples, “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father” (v.16). The first “little while” refers to a few hours left before His arrest and crucifixion. After that “little while,” Jesus said that the disciples will not see Him. This He said with reference to His death and burial. Then He used the phrase “a little while” a second time. By this He referred to the period between His resurrection and ascension. But because that period is also only a little while, how can it bring lasting joy? If they would recollect His promise of the Holy Spirit to come after His ascension (vv.13-15), they can expect the Spirit to show them more of Christ’s truth and glory. Jesus’ ascension to heaven ushers His permanent presence and help in the believers through the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is one in essence with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Truth, and the Spirit is the “Spirit of Truth” (cf. John 14:17-18).
The disciples could not unravel the meaning of Jesus’ words. Their confusion about Jesus’ words is expressed in verse 17 and 18. Jesus, knowing their curiosity concerning the meaning of His words, took a very practical path to explain the implications of His words. He said to them that they will experience extraordinary sorrow, but the world will exult in joy. In describing their change of experience Jesus told them a parable of the pain and joy of a woman who gives birth to a son (v.21). Then Jesus said to them that their present sorrow will likewise change to joy as they see Jesus again. “And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you” (v.22). Jesus’ promise “I will see you again” encompasses all the promises that He made concerning His resurrection and ascension, and thereafter the continual presence with them through the Spirit. Just as Jesus promised, the disciples rejoiced when they saw the resurrected Lord (cf. John 20:20). But that joy of the disciples would continue because that’s what the Lord promised.
(Read Acts 15:32.)
O Risen Lord, may Your Spirit fill my heart with Your joy.