Some of His disciples then said to one another, "What is this thing He is telling us, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'; and, 'because I go to the Father'?"John 16:17(NASB)
The last half of John's gospel is concentrated into the final days of Christ's life. The gospel of the kingdom had been preached and refused. The Person of Jesus had been identified as the Messiah and rejected. The incarnate Word of God had come to His own people and His own received Him not - but as many as did receive Him to them was given the power to become Sons of God..
Everything seemed to be topsy-turvy. The hour for Christ to be glorified had arrived and yet His glorification was to be through His death! He had come to set up His kingdom and yet He was going away! He promised never to leave them and yet He told them that the time for His departure had arrived! He should have been crowned as King and yet he was to be crucified as a criminal.
Jesus had been sent by the Father to right every wrong and yet the people would scream: we will not have this man to rule over us - we have no king but Caesar! Everything seemed upside-down, inside-out, higgledy-piggledy and at sixes and sevens. How could it be that the One Who had made such wonderful promises and performed such mighty miracles was now rejected?
Everything seemed to be falling apart. The King and His promised kingdom had been ignored, missed or spurned by the majority of Israel. Instead of His enthronement.. as they had expected, Christ's crucifixion was imminent and in the last days and weeks of His life, the disciples were given a crash course for the future.
They knew that Jesus had come as King of Israel and yet they heard Him saying: I go to the Father and you will see Me no more.. a little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me. They could not reconcile His many seeming contradictions. Each of the disciples were bewildered, puzzled, perplexed and not a little frightened.. as the whole purpose on which their lives had been focused for over three years.. was suddenly falling apart.
These men had given up everything to follow Jesus, as they believed Him to be: the Christ, the Son of the living God, and yet hope of seeing Rome smashed into pieces and their own personal aspirations of sitting on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel as promised, was in shreds - and their hopes dashed to the ground.
No wonder the disciples complained: What is this thing He is telling us, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.. because I go to the Father'?
In hindsight we know that a little while has been translated into 2000 years by human standards and yet in God's economy one day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousands years is as one day. There was much that Christ was unable to tell His disciples during those last days and weeks of His earthly ministry as the cross loomed ever closer.. for we read that they could not have bourn it.
But only a few weeks after His glorious resurrection His disciples receive the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who would guide them into all truth and bring to mind the many words that Jesus spoke - and which were later translated into the God-breathed Holy Scriptures for our learning.
Jesus did not answer all their questions. He did not He clarify His teaching nor address their many problems, for He knew that over time they would come to an deeper understanding of the truth - and the truth would set them free. But this would come through the ministry of the Comforter.. the indwelling Holy Spirit, Whom the Father would send to be with them - and to dwell in them.
Jesus knew that the Holy Spirit would open-up their understanding about the future Church - the body of Christ. He knew that they were to be the ones who would later be guided by the same Spirit to lay the foundation of Christianity.. much of which would be written down by the apostle Paul, who would explain the mystery that was hidden in ages past, which is Christ in you the hope of glory.
It is the same today. There is much that we do not know or understand.. but we have the Word of God as our plumb-line for truth and the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead and to guide into all truth. Let us study to show ourselves approved unto God and submit to the guidance of the indwelling Spirit.
Heavenly Father, thank You that in the Word of God I have all that I need for life and godliness. I pray that the Holy Spirit would open up my understanding as I study Your Word and seek Your face - this I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.